City Planning approved the Rudin development family’s plan for the old St. Vincent’s Hospital Site today allowing the Rudin Managment company to build an $800 million multi-use complex. The plan includes 450 luxury condos, a 564-seat school, 15,000 square-foot-public park, and street-level retail. The St. Vincent’s plan went through a bevy of iterations before finally arriving at today’s approval.
Since the Rudins first attempted to purchase the troubled hospital in 2007, the drawn out saga saw the collapse of the St. Vincent’s, the threat and eventual preservation of the O’ Toole Building (formerly the Maritime Union), the scrapping of a Pei Cobb Freed-designed tower west of Seventh Ave, the adoption of an FX Fowle plan for east side of Seventh, and, finally, the most recent development, a demand for an AIDS memorial at Triangle Park.
Today’s vote was on the FXFowle plan for the former hospital site and the M. Paul Friedberg designs for Triangle Park. Before voting yes Commissioner Burden said the the approved plan successfully integrates the old site back into the fabric of the neighborhood. She added that she was “confident” the developer would find a way to integrate the an AIDS memorial into the plan for Triangle Park.
The AIDS memorial component cropped up over the fall when the Queer History Alliance joined forces with Architizer and Architectural Record to sponsor a competition that would scrap the M. Paul Friedberg design in favor of a site specific memorial. “We are very happy to have gotten the support from the commission and for them to specifically call out the AIDS memorial,” said Queer History’s Christopher Tepper.
After the hearing, one member of the community, who asked not to be identified, said that the AIDS memorial distracted from other community concerns, such as the addition of a garage and retail along 12th Street. Nevertheless, the memorial garnered most of the recent attention, especially after assembling a star studded jury that included Whoopi Goldberg alongside architect Michael Arad. After the vote, Rudin chief exec William Rudin said that original landscaping for Triangle Park incorporated “place holders” for a “commemorative element” and that the company would continue to work with the community on design.
The contest parameters broaden the site to include its full 16,000-square-foot footprint as well as a below ground space. The M. Paul Freidberg design is primarily at grade, using the below grade space for roots. Rudin would not comment on the future use of the below grade space. Tepper noted that using the space was included the impact study, so a new ULURP would not be required. However, he did say that his group “softened” their approach to including the space. “We asked competition entrants to consider using the space, but we don’t require it,” he said.
Tepper said that more than 450 entries were received and a winner could be announced as soon as Monday.