Following nearly five years of negotiation,an agreement reached Wednesdayby the City Council, Rudin Managementand the mayor's office allows for significantchanges to the developer's plans atthe former St. Vincent's Hospital site.
The City Council's Land Use Committeevoted 10 to one in favor of a proposalwhose major provisions include shrinkingRudin's residential development from450 condo units to 350; the purchase of astate-owned building at 75 Morton St. tobe used for a new middle school; and thepermanent transfer of Triangle Park to thecity, which will include an AIDS memorialand undergo a public review process.
Moreover, the Council reported that $1million would be directed to arts programsat P.S. 41, P.S. 3 and the proposed schoolat the Foundling Hospital site, along with$1 million for a legal services fund to helpretain affordable housing in the Village. TheCouncil also said that the Reiss Building on12th Street would be preserved.
Brad Hoylman, chairperson ofCommunity Board 2, praised CouncilSpeaker Christine Quinn, whose districtincludes the Village, for her efforts onbehalf of the community."The St. Vincent's redevelopmentpackage addresses significant needs inour area. This includes support for publicschools, a legal fund for rent-stabilizedtenants, open space that will becomepermanent public parkland with an AIDSmemorial and sensible changes to thenew development, including preservingthe Reiss building in addition to the fivebuildings that were already saved as partof the project, which is in the Greenwich
Village Historic District," Hoylman said inan emailed statement.
However, he reiterated his frustrationregarding the fight for a hospital in theVillage. "Unfortunately, the plan doesn'tinclude a much-needed full-service hospital,"he added. "That battle must continue."Plans for a new health care center tobe operated by North Shore LIJ out ofthe modern building on West 12th Street,referred to by some residents as a "freestandingemergency room," were unaffectedby Wednesday's announced deal.
Some politicians, including AssemblyMember Deborah Glick, had mixed supportfor the revised Rudin West VillageDevelopment Plan."The battle to get a school at 75 MortonStreet was a four-year effort and we'rehappy about that," Glick said. She addedthat she was not pleased about the upzoningprivileges afforded Rudin.
"That zoning should have beenreserved for the 'public benefit,' as St.Vincent's was," Glick explained. "A privatedeveloper shouldn't have been ableto take that zoning and use it for a private,commercial use."
In an emailed statement, AndrewBerman, executive director of TheGreenwich Village Society for HistoricPreservation, concurred with Glickregarding the upzoning issue."The GVSHP objects to upzoning the St.Vincent's site to give a luxury condo developmentspecial zoning considerations originallyintended for a hospital," he wrote.He continued, "While many of thechanges may improve the [development]plan, they don't necessarily address thisfundamental problem."
The special zoning privileges Bermanreferred to date back to 1979, when theSt. Vincent's site was rezoned to allow alarge bulk of development for hospitalbuildings and a much smaller one for residentialbuildings.Berman added that Rudin is nowasking for the site to be upzoned to beallowed much greater bulk than theallowable residential.
The revised plan must still be reviewedby the City Planning Commission and willbe voted on by the full Council March 28.
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