LPC Approves St. Vincent's Hardship Application
On October 28, 2008, a deeply divided Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted 6 to 4 to approve St. Vincent's Hospital's hardship application to demolish the O'Toole Building to make way for a new 299 ft. tall hospital. While a slim majority of Commissioners felt St. Vincent's had proven their hardship case, several felt the hospital had not shown that reasonable and feasible alternatives did not exist. In testimony to the LPC on the hardship application, GVSHP had stressed the need to explore all reasonable alternatives before issuing a hardship finding, and had also raised issues about the appropriateness of a hardship case for a building which had been landmarked at the time of purchase. GVSHP will be reviewing the LPC's decision in detail.
There are still many steps in the approval and review process for the St. Vincent's and Rudin project. The LPC must still review and approve the plans for the proposed new 299 ft. tall hospital on the O'Toole site, and many Commissioners, including several who voted in favor of the hardship application, expressed reservation about the proposed design. Additionally, the plan for the East Campus, to be developed by Rudin Management, must still be approved (GVSHP had urged changes be made to several aspects of that plan, and successfully fought to save four buildings from demolition in the original Rudin plan). Any plan approved by the LPC would still require zoning changes, which must be approved by the City Planning Commission and the City Council. Additionally, the hardship decision by the LPC may well face a legal appeal.
For more on the LPC decision on the St. Vincent's hardship application, see NY1 News and the New York Post.