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St. Vincent’s Design Scrutinized

st vincents rendering height redesignThe NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission today reviewed the design of St. Vincent’s new hospital building proposed for the site of the 1960s O’Toole building. You may remember that in October, the LPC, in a split vote, determined that St. Vincent’s did meet the standards of hardship and therefore could demolish the iconic O’Toole building. Moving forward, St. Vincent’s presented to the Commissioners today details of their design for the new hospital, which will replace the O’Toole building. The Commissioners’ opinions on the building were mixed, with many of them commenting that the height and bulk of the 299-ft.-high building with an elliptical tower was out-of-scale and inappropriate for the historic district. The hospital’s design was first presented last spring, and in June, the architects presented a revised plan, which lowered the height of the building from about 330 ft. to 299 ft. Since this June presentation, significant changes to the hospital’s design have not been made, and today the architects simply presented more developed details on the June redesign. Even though is a major new building in a historic district, MAS and other members of the public did not have the opportunity to comment publicly on the design today. Questions remain about how the hardship determination will affect the Commissioners’ decision-making in the design of the new hospital building. Many Commissioners felt that the hospital design was not in character with the Greenwich Village Historic District, particularly because its height and bulk are much larger than the other buildings in the neighborhood. However, uncertainty remains as to whether or not the Commissioners are supposed to take into consideration the hardship determination and allow a building height and design they would not under normal circumstances. MAS will continue to follow the St. Vincent’s project as it moves forward in 2009.