March 8, 2012
By Neal Tepel, LaborPress Publisher
Hundreds of opponents and supporters were on hand at a city council hearing on March 6th to hear testimony regarding a proposed luxury condominium development planned for the former site of St. Vincent’s Hospital. On the surface it was a hearing to discuss the fate of a request for city rezoning approval. However, many at the hearing continue to mourn the closing of a great hospital that anchored a community. These local residents would have opposed any plan to build on that sacred ground.
There is no doubt that this important construction project proposed by Rudin Management will have of great benefit to the community. However, for many in Greenwich Village, there is still the memory and legacy of St. Vincent’s Hospital. This was a facility that provided quality health care for generations of New Yorkers since 1849. For over 100 years St. Vincent’s was an anchor and teaching hospital in the New York City healthcare system. It was a very sad day when the facility declared bankruptcy and closed in 2010.
With approval from the New York City Council, the Rudin West Village project will convert the currently abandoned St. Vincent’s Hospital into a residential complex, school, health facility and park. The approval request includes the preservation of four historic buildings while creating a new, 16,500 square foot public park. The design has been approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the City Planning Commission and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. A new, 563-seat elementary school and a new health center operated by North Shore-LIJ featuring an emergency department will cover over 92% of the services that St. Vincent’s provided.
This project represents major improvements to the community, Manhattan and New York City. It generates 1,600 jobs, local business expansion and increased tax revenue to the city and state. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has said that the Rudin Management’s plans to redevelop the central Greenwich Village land would preserve neighborhood character, create new open space and boost the economy.