On Oct. 19, Community Board 2 rejected the St. Vincent's rezoning proposal put forth by the Rudin Management Company. The official statement released by the board said that unless the concerns of the community, including height and bulk, health care delivery and affordable housing, among others, were addressed, the board would "deny each applicant." The board further decided that "no upzoning, based upon the allowable bulk for community facilities, be granted to Applicant, and that only the allowable bulk for residential development be considered for this project at the site."
Until it was forced to close in 2010, St. Vincent's was Greenwich Village's only hospital. The property is divided in three parts-the East Site, the Triangle Site and the O'Toole Building-bordering Seventh Avenue between West 13th Street and West 11th Street. Rudin Management, run by one of the oldest real estate families in New York, bought the hospital earlier this year for $260 million and have proposed a redevelopment plan to revamp the site.
Under the proposed plan, the site would be developed as a luxury residential complex, a health care center, a two-bed hospital and emergency center, a 564-seat elementary school and a 15,000-square-foot park. The residential complex would comprise seven buildings and five townhouses for a total of 450 housing units.
Although the Rudins plan includes a health care center, the Coalition for a New Village Hospital claims this facility will not be a full-service hospital. "It is just a Duane Reade on stretchers," wrote Barbara Reuther, 76, a member of the coalition and a resident of the Greenwich Village since 1956, in an email. The Coalition has submitted a petition with 3,500 signatures to the New York City Planning Commission to oppose the proposed plans.
The Coalition for a New Village Hospital, an umbrella organization with around 8,000 members is demanding a full-service, 24-hour acute care, community-based hospital with a Level I trauma emergency center.
Residents are also worried about real estate prices, as new luxury condos in the market could inflate prices in the area.
"The plan ignores affordable housing. The neighborhood continues to cater to the wealthy. I have no rent control and I will not be able to afford the increased rent," said David Alex Andrejko, a 24-year-old artist who resides in Greenwich Village.
Another group comprised of parents and parent-teacher associations, the Live and Learn Coalition, wants Rudin Management to contribute to the acquisition of 75 Morton St. for local public school space. Although Rudin has proposed a school on the property, the coalition says it would operate at full capacity as soon as it starts due to the influx of new residents in the proposed apartments.
The Queer History Alliance (QHA), a grassroots organization that supports the preservation and exhibition of New York LBGT history, wants an AIDS memorial to be built at the Triangle Site on 76 Greenwich Ave., a 26,000-square-foot open space.
In an interview before the hearing, QHA co-founder Paul Kelterborn argued that the history of St. Vincent's, the "ground zero" of the epidemic in the 1980s, should be commemorated. The Community Board, in a resolution passed Oct. 20, supported this proposal.
Also at the hearing, however, were some groups that supported the Rudin proposal. Tammy Rivera, of the New York City District Council of Carpenters, said the Rudin plan will create jobs. Cheering her on were around 20 members of the Council of Carpenters.
John Gilbert, chief operating officer of Rudin Management, said the proposal would foster small businesses in the area. "We want to have a conversation with this community and we hope we can continue to have it," Gilbert added. Rudin expects the project to create more than 500 permanent jobs-including 400 in health care.
Rudin Management is proposing a a small healthcare center and a school at the former St. Vincent's site. Community members want a full-service hospital.
PHOTO BY ANDREW SCHWARTZ
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