On January 23rd, the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a proposal by Rudin Management Company Inc. to rezone the shuttered St. Vincent’s Hospital East Campus to allow condo development of that site. This follows a recommendation by Borough President Scott Stringer in November to approve the rezoning, with minor modifications.
The Rudin rezoning plan, if approved, will result in St. Vincent’s entire East Campus being converted to residential use. Four of the buildings—Spellman, Smith, Raskob and Nurse’s Residence—will be converted to condos, while another four—Coleman, Link, Cronin and Reiss—will be demolished to make way for a 200-plus-foot-tall luxury condo high-rise on Seventh Avenue, two mid-rise residential buildings (one on 11th Street and one on 12th Street) and a row of new townhouses on 11th Street.
The Planning Commission’s swift unanimous vote to approve the rezoning application sends it to the City Council, which must hold public hearings and vote upon the proposed zoning changes within 60 days of the Planning Commission’s vote. These hearings were not yet scheduled as WestView went to press, but readers can check www.gvshp.org for updates.
The proposed rezoning cannot happen, and Rudin’s proposed St. Vincent luxury condo development cannot move ahead, unless the rezoning is approved by the City Council. The St. Vincent’s campus site lies in City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s district, and thus the Council will likely follow her lead in deciding whether or not to approve this application.
GVSHP continues to oppose the rezoning application. This site was rezoned in 1979 to allow the construction of larger than normally allowable buildings for the purpose of constructing a hospital, which provides a public service. The Rudin rezoning application is asking, in essence, that the additional bulk and extra zoning considerations granted to St. Vincent’s now be given to Rudin Management to allow it to construct larger than currently (or normally) allowable private, for-profit, market-rate condos in the Greenwich Village Historic District.
We believe that allowing construction of these buildings is not only bad planning and a bad principle, but is also inappropriate in terms of size and scale and the loss of historic buildings for this site. We also believe that approving this rezoning, or “upzoning,” application sets a terrible precedent that could pave the way for the special privileges afforded institutions serving a public purpose, of which there are many in our neighborhood, to be exploited by private developers. GVSHP will continue to push for the rezoning of the site to allow for luxury condo development to be rejected.
If you want to make your feelings known about the proposal, you have just a short period of time to contact City Council Speaker Quinn. Go to www.gvshp.org/stvincltr for contact information and sample letters you can send.
Executive Director Greenwich Village
Society for Historic Preservation