Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer today issued conditional approval of the proposed redevelopment of the Saint Vincent's Campus site and adjacent land parcels by the Rudin Management Company.
Citing the "unmistakable void" left by Saint Vincent's closure in the West Village, Borough President Stringer recommended the City Planning Commission approve a project that includes 450 units of LEED-certified residential development, a new publicly accessible park, and the creation of nearly 1,700 jobs. He noted that the project maintained architectural continuity, by preserving five out of the nine buildings that made up the historic Hospital campus, and that absent the proposed rezoning the site would only be available to community facility uses like dormitories and classrooms. The Borough President issued his recommendation provided the developer follow through on commitments that he said would significantly improve the project, bringing it closer in line with community priorities and sound planning.
The original proposal for redevelopment was submitted by Rudin in 2007, in conjunction with plans to build a new hospital facility. After Saint Vincent's filed for bankruptcy in 2010, the applicant purchased the campus to facilitate the mixed-use development that is being proposed today and a new stand alone emergency room and diagnostic center located across the street. Since 2007, 65 public meetings have been held by the Community Board, the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the City Planning Commission, and through this public process, significant changes have been adopted by the developer. Despite these modifications, however, legitimate community concerns remain about the development's impacts on the surrounding community, a landmarked historic district.
Borough President Stringer secured modifications to and mitigations for the project from the developer, including:
- Expand the amount of open space by removing the gas storage facility;
- Include a commemorative feature in the open space and work with the community and local elected officials on the design;
- Prevent an increase in neighborhood density by restricting density in the restrictive declaration and exploring a transfer of development rights to the city;
- Limit the types of uses allowed in the retail stores by restricting "Use Group 12C" bars and clubs;
- Agree to signage on the side street to only those found in local retail zoning districts (C1);
- Agree to prevent light pollution on West 12th Street by controlling the light from the proposed retail stores;
- Agree to mitigation measures for dust control, air quality, vibration control, delivery staging, noise reduction, and rodent control;
- Appoint a construction coordination task force with the community board; create a website to notify tenants of recent construction activities, and provide a single point of contact for the community.
The Borough President also acknowledged that since certification a new alternative proposal has been proposed for the open space – an AIDS memorial and learning center. AIDS has had a profound impact on the City and the proposal deserves serious consideration and study, but it would likely require follow up public approvals. Borough President Stringer added that whether or not the proposal is ultimately feasible on this site, he is committed to working with all involved to realize a memorial to one of the most tragic epidemics that has ever affected our City.
Under the rules of the City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), Borough President Stringer will submit his official recommendation to the City Planning Commission today, bringing the proposed redevelopment of the Saint Vincent's Campus site to the next step in the ULURP process. The proposal now moves to the Department of City Planning for a 60-day review period and then to the New York City Council for a 50-day review period before it can ultimately be voted on and become law. Community Board 2 has previously submitted its recommendation.
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