November 2017
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Staten Island’s Seaview-Farm Colony Historic District Starts to Get the Attention it Deserves

Staten Island’s deteriorating Farm Colony-Seaview Hospital Historic District received much-needed attention from City officials this year. On November 14, historic preservation expert Page Cowley presented the results of her intensive study of Farm Colony. Commissioned by the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and funded by Councilmember James Oddo, the study includes building assessments, stabilization plans, and conceptual reuse guidelines aimed at preserving eleven of Farm Colony’s most significant buildings and its grounds. Councilmember Oddo pledged to make reuse of the historic buildings a top priority of his term.

The news is not so heartening for Sea view. With the exception of the Laboratory – which has been renovated for use by the Staten Island Ballet – little progress has been made in revitalizing the abandoned historic buildings on the hospital campus. A proposal for converting the former Nurses’ Residence to senior housing has languished for over a year; meanwhile, over 500 units of newly-constructed senior housing are planned for the site’s wooded open space.

Recently, the Municipal Art Society invited a respected appraiser and developer from Chicago, who specializes in tax credit and historic preservation projects, to visit the district and provide his expert opinion on the condition of the buildings, particularly Seaview’s stunning Women’s Pavilions. While we are still awaiting his full report, his initial sense was that the buildings are viable for reuse and are actually in surprisingly good shape considering their lengthy exposure to the elements. The next challenge is to find a like-minded developer willing to breathe new life into this local treasure.

1999 Seven to Save list that highlights the Sea View-Farm Colony District as one of the most endangered sites in the state.