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MAS Testifies on St. Vincent’s at the City Planning Commission

st vincent's hospital concept new yorkSince 2007, Rudin Management has been working to transform the St. Vincent’s Hospital site on West 12th Street and Seventh Avenue into a residential, commercial and healthcare complex. In 2007 and 2008, MAS was actively involved during the Landmarks Preservation Commission hearings arguing for a strong interpretation of the landmarks law in order to prevent the establishment of a precedent that would allow developers to tear down landmark buildings such as the O’Toole Building. Over the years, the project has gone through a number of changes, including the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital in April 2010 because of financial problems. After the hospital closed, Rudin management found a new partner in the North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System (NSLIJ) to create a new healthcare facility in a rehabilitated O’Toole Building. In addition to a healthcare facility, plans also include 450 apartments with retail and new publicly accessible open space. For more background information on the project, click here. On November 30, 2011, the City Planning Commission (CPC) held a public hearing on the St. Vincent’s Redevelopment project. The hearing was part of the City’s public review process, the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). MAS was among the approximately 50 individuals and organizations that submitted public testimony. Our testimony acknowledges the benefits of the project, including the partnership with the NSLIJ to create a healthcare facility in Greenwich Village and their commitment to helping fund a public school at 17th Street and 6th Avenue, the site of the Foundling Hospital. Despite these benefits, MAS expressed three significant concerns with the project in its current form:

1) Affordable Housing

The proposed project calls for the construction of 450 new residential units, all of which will be for sale at market rate prices. Today, Rudin Management is proposing to build a for-profit residential development with a similar density as was previously granted for a non-profit hospital.  In order to justify the proposed density on the site, MAS urges the City Planning Commission to require that the residential development include affordable housing, which will help promote economic diversity in this neighborhood.

2) Open Space

MAS notes that there is a coalition of community organizations and individuals that are proposing that the Triangle Site incorporate an AIDS memorial and education center. MAS sees tremendous potential in this plan and encourages the City Planning Commission to carefully consider how this use might be best integrated into the site. st vincents hospital redevelopment site triangle
The Triangle Site on the St. Vincent’s Redevelopment Site

3) Parking

The applicant is seeking a 152 space parking garage. However, the data included in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement demonstrates that the available parking in a quarter mile radius is sufficient to meet the needs of the new development. In order to reduce the amount of traffic on West 12th Street, which is primarily a residential street; the number of proposed parking spaces should be reduced. Read MAS’ full testimony to the City Planning Commission. MAS strongly believes that by addressing these three concerns, this project will be a fitting replacement for an institution – St. Vincent’s Hospital – which was an essential part of New York City for over 100 years.