St. Vincent's Plan Revealed, NYU Long Term Plans, the Truth about Trump and more
St. Vincent’s/Rudin Development Plan Unveiled: On Wednesday, St. Vincent’s Hospital and developers the Rudin family unveiled their initial draft plans for a new hospital and several new luxury housing developments on the current St. Vincent’s Hospital site. The plan is to tear down all eight of their current hospital buildings east of 7th Avenue, and the O’Toole Building on the west side of 7th Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets (see www.gvshp.org/documents/BuildingInfo.pdf ). St. Vincent’s would consolidate most of their facilities from these eight buildings into a new hospital to be built on the site of the O’Toole Building, while all their buildings east of 7th Avenue would be torn down to make way for new luxury housing by Rudin, which would help pay for the new hospital. St. Vincent’s ‘triangle site’ would not change substantially, though St. Vincent’s has said they are willing to improve its public access and aesthetics.
The plan is not yet a formal proposal; these very substantial changes must receive several hearings at the Community Board, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), the City Planning Commission (CPC), and the City Council, at which the public will be able to testify. The plan must be approved by the LPC, CPC, and City Council in order to move ahead. The plan has not yet been filed with any of these bodies, though St. Vincent’s/Rudin say they plan to do so later in the year.
If approved, the plan would be the largest new development in Greenwich Village in 50 years. The new hospital building on the west side of 7th Avenue would sit on a 60-75 ft. tall base, topped by an ovoid tower oriented diagonally from the northeast to the southwest corner of the site, rising to a total of 300 feet or 21 stories (plus mechanicals on top), with a small setback at the 18th floor. On the east side of the street, Rudin plans to tear down all of the existing buildings and replace them with a 21-story, 235 ft. tall (plus approx. 30 feet of mechanicals) residential building on 7th Avenue, with small setbacks, covering most of the site. The building would gradually step down on 11th and 12th Streets and would abut ten new townhouses that would be built on 11th Street and nine on 12th Street. To the east of the new rowhouses on 12th Street would be a new approx. 10 story apartment building. All together, this would include 400-500 new units of luxury housing. For perspective, St. Vincent’s Coleman Pavilion, the largest of the hospital’s current buildings (7th Avenue btw. 12th and 11th Streets) is 200 feet tall.
St. Vincent’s/Rudin are making additional presentations of their plan, open to the public, on Monday the 15th and Tuesday the 16th at 6:30 pm in their Cronin Auditorium, 170 W. 12th Street, the 10th floor. GVSHP strongly urges you to attend these presentations to see the plan for yourself at this preliminary stage.
MTA ‘Emergency Ventilation Shaft’ Project: In late September, the MTA made a public presentation regarding their plans to construct an emergency ventilation shaft at one of nine possible sites in and around Mulry Square, the intersection of Greenwich and 7th Avenues (see http://mta.info/mta/news/hearings/8avp_dsd.pdf and www.gvshp.org/ventilationplant.htm for more information). GVSHP continued to press the MTA on the need for the project at this time and location, and on the various impacts it could have on surrounding buildings, traffic, environmental conditions, and the character of the neighborhood (see letter to the MTA at www.gvshp.org/documents/MTAMulrySqLtr10-07.pdf ).
There is still time to get your feedback to the MTA as they continue to analyze the various possible alternatives for the plan. For sample letters you can send to the MTA, go to www.gvshp.org/ventilationplant.htm .
NYU Open House on Long-Term Plans: NYU will be holding another Open House on Wednesday, October 17th, from 4-7 pm, to present to the public their ongoing planning for the next 25 years (see www.nyu.edu/about/open.house/openhouse10172007.html ). The Open House will take place at Hemmerdinger Hall, 100 Washington Square East (Waverly/Washington Place). While NYU has given indications over the last several months that they are working seriously to look for alternate locations outside of our neighborhoods for future expansions (see www.gvshp.org/NYUexpansion.htm), the University nevertheless projects a need for an additional 6 million square feet of space over the next 25 years, and NYU President Sexton has said that he believes about half of that must go in our neighborhoods. Three million square feet is the equivalent of seventeen of their new 26-story mega-dorms on East 12th Street (www.gvshp.org/NYUdorm.htm ). That is why GVSHP continues to push NYU to remain within its existing footprint and envelope within our neighborhoods, and seek locations outside our neighborhood if future expansions are needed (see www.thevillager.com/villager_221/talkingpoint.html ).
GVSHP urges you to attend the Open House on the 17th, to find out more and to let NYU know that finding locations OUTSIDE of our already oversaturated neighborhoods MUST be their #1 long-range planning priority.
Meatpacking District Billboard Disapproved: GVSHP continues to fight illegal billboards throughout Greenwich Village, the East Village, NoHo, the Meatpacking District, and Hudson Square (see www.gvshp.org/documents/DOBBillboardLetterOct2007.pdf and www.gvshp.org/GansvBlbd.htm ). In one small victory, this Tuesday the Landmarks Preservation Commission agreed with GVSHP and denied a request by the owner of an illegal billboard at 675 Hudson Street in the Meatpacking District (the “Little Flatiron Building” — see www.gvshp.org/675HudsonBillboard.htm ). While the LPC denied the request to legalize the south-facing billboard, the Department of Buildings granted permission for the north-facing billboard on the building before landmark designation took effect in 2003. However, GVSHP has discovered that the even the north-facing billboard violates zoning regulations, and has urged the Department of Buildings to revoke its permits and force its removal.
The Truth About Trump: Three recent articles shed some very interesting light on the Trump SoHo ‘condo-hotel’ project (www.gvshp.org/trump.htm ):
Crain’s NY’s recent “Residential Life” issue featured the planned Trump SoHo ‘Condo-Hotel” on its cover, citing its provision of “hotel amenities for condo residents and hotel guests” (see www.gvshp.org/documents/CrainsResidentialCvr10-07.pdf ). Of course GVSHP and other community groups have claimed from the beginning that Trump’s project contained residential uses and therefore should not be permitted by the City, because such uses are illegal under the zoning for the site . Several dozen elected officials, community, business, and civic groups from across the city agreed (see www.gvshp.org/trump.htm#supporters ), and now apparently so does Crain’s NY. The City, however, has stubbornly clung to its approvals for Trump, and now plans to go to court and use taxpayer money to defend the Trump proje
ct and its approvals against a community-initiated lawsuit.
In a recent interview, Trump partner Julius Schwarz of the Bayrock Group admitted that the ONLY reason they were able to develop the Trump SoHo is because of the funding mechanism offered by it being a condo-hotel, and that without it, they would not have been able to move ahead. From the interview:
So why [a condo-hotel, and] not a straight luxury hotel? “It’s a financing mechanism,” said Schwarz, who added that financing is tough to come by…Hotel rooms will always be in high demand, said Schwarz, “but you can’t rely on the $1,200 a night rates. Even with a very high-end luxury hotel like this, where rates are going to stay high, you have to convince a lender. That’s the most important thing; otherwise, the deal doesn’t get done.” (see the full article at www.therealdeal.net/issues/October_2007/1191450566.php ).
Various city officials, in refusing to agree with contentions that the Trump project should not be allowed because it in effect violated the zoning, contended, among other things, that the building could just get built as a ‘straight’ transient hotel anyway, which is allowed by the zoning. But Schwarz’s own words show the developers felt they could only finance the project if it was allowed as a condo-hotel.
Those fighting another controversial Trump development plan in the UK have apparently been taking notes — and taking heart — from our battle against the Donald here in Lower Manhattan. See the article in this morning’s issue of the Guardian at www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2189424,00.html .
More South Village Columbus Day Coverage: Please see the very nice articles about our recent Columbus Day event (www.gvshp.org/southvillagenews.htm ) calling for landmark status for the South Village at www.thevillager.com/villager_232/friendsromansvillagers.html and www.therealdeal.net/breaking_news/2007/10/09/1191971349.php .