Volume 79, Number 01 | June 10 - 16, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

The newest, lower design for the tallest residential building the Rudin Organization would build as part of the St. Vincent’s Hospital rebuilding project. The view is from the south.

Rudin does some surgery, chopping off another story

By Albert Amateau

The Rudin Organization showed the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday the newest version of the residential side of the St. Vincent’s redevelopment project with a scaled-down Seventh Ave. apartment building.

The tower proposed for the east side of Seventh Ave. between 11th and 12th Sts. was reduced in height by 15 feet — equivalent to one story — to 218 feet from the previous, 233-foot-tall version.

It was the second height reduction for the largest proposed residential building on the east side of the current St. Vincent’s hospital campus. The original height of 265 feet was reduced to 233 feet last year.

The changes presented on June 9 to the L.P.C. followed some of the suggestions that Landmarks Commission members made at a May 12 L.P.C. meeting. In addition to the height reduction of the large residential building, Dan Kaplan, the F.X Fowle architect for the residential component of the hospital project, said the five townhouses proposed for 11th St. would line up straight in the newest design, rather than follow the zigzag alignment of the previous plan. The townhouses — set back 9 feet from the property line to provide front gardens — would also have “celebrated” entrances, including canopies, round glass windows and rusticated limestone trim with recessed doors.

The four buildings of the present hospital complex that are to be preserved and adapted to residential use will retain more of their current detail than in the previous design, Kaplan said. The bronze doors of the Nurses Residence on 12th St. would remain. The penthouses on the Raskob building on 12th St. and on the Spellman building on 11th St. will be lower and wider than they are now.

Because St. Vincent’s is in the Greenwich Village Historic District, L.P.C. is responsible for reviewing whether any changes, demolitions and new construction are appropriate. Last month, the commission approved the demolition of the O’Toole building on Seventh Ave.’s west side to make way for a new 299-foot-tall, 21st-century hospital on the site. The approval followed L.P.C. granting of a hardship application by St. Vincent’s.

Landmarks Chairperson Robert Tierney on Tuesday said the commission would study the new design for the project’s residential side and have at least one more hearing, possibly as early as Tues., June 16, before the commission votes on the project.

Both the project’s hospital and residential sides will require zoning changes and must pass the city’s uniform land use review procedure, known as ULURP, a nine-month process that includes City Planning Department review and community board hearings with a final decision by the City Council.

However, Protect the Village Historic District, a group of neighbors opposed to the siting and size of the proposed hospital, has filed a lawsuit challenging L.P.C.’s granting the hardship application on which the hospital approval is based. The suit is still pending.

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