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BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | On Wednesday, the full City Council gave final approval to Rudin Management’s plan to residentially redevelop the former St. Vincent’s site by a vote of 49 yes to 1 no. The lone vote against was by Charles Barron, who is known for his frequent no votes.
Before councilmembers weighed in, Council Speaker Christine Quinn spoke for about three minutes, noting all the concessions Rudin had made on the project in response to the community’s “wants and asks.” Yet, Quinn said, despite the concessions, she still wished the community had been able to get a full-service replacement hospital for St. Vincent’s, but it wasn’t possible.
Mark Weprin, co-chairperson of the Council’s Land Use Committee, spoke for a minute or two in support of the project.
The Rudin plan — to be called West Village Residences — will include 350 residential apartments in a mix of converted former hospital buildings and new construction. In addition, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System will develop a $110 million, free-standing, 24/7 emergency department and comprehensive care center in the old St. Vincent’s O’Toole building. Rudin will also develop a public park of more than 16,000 square feet on the open triangle at Greenwich and Seventh Aves., one-tenth of which will contain an AIDS memorial. After construction, the park will be given to the Parks Department.
In addition, Rudin has committed $1 million for arts education in local public schools and $1 million for affordable-housing protection services. Also, the city has agreed to buy 75 Morton St. for $40 million for use as a school — which was one of the community’s key “asks” of Rudin.
C.E.O. Bill Rudin said, “After more than five years, hundreds of public meetings and hearings and thousands of conversations, the final version of the project shows what can happen when governmental leaders, the community and a development team work together. On behalf of the entire Rudin and Ofer team, we thank Speaker Quinn, Mayor Bloomberg, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Community Board 2, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, the labor unions and all the local elected officials and members of the West Village community for their commitment in helping to shape this development.”
Eyal Ofer of Global Holdings is Rudin’s partner in the project.
In an e-mail blast issued before the Council’s expected yes vote, Yetta Kurland of the Coalition for a New Village Hospital said she felt “sorrow” at the Rudin project’s approval. But she said the coalition would fight on to try to add floors to the new North Shore-L.I.J. facility in hope that it could become a hospital.