November 2017
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Split Vote in St. Vincent’s Hardship Decision

st vincents hospital redevelopment project new york city

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) today determined in a vote of 6 to 4 that retaining the 1960s O”Toole building does impose a hardship for the hospital. The  St. Vincent’s hardship application is the most complicated project that has come before the Landmarks Preservation Commission in recent decades, and the Commissioners’ varied views and the split vote reflects the difficult decision they had to make. Some Commissioners had very serious concerns about voting for the hardship determination, and had explored alternatives that they thought could be viable.

This decision though, can be the beginning rather than the end of the discussion of alternatives to St. Vincent’s proposed demolition of the O’Toole building, as the hardship provision of the Landmarks Law provides a second step after the preliminary determination of hardship. This second step allows the LPC to act as advocates for the O’Toole building and seek ways to meet the hospital’s needs while saving this modern icon. In many past hardship cases, the LPC has taken this second step and has protected valuable historic resources. In light of the concerns of some of the Commissioners, we think this is a step the LPC must take.