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News April 2010

O’Toole Building Update re: St. Vincent’s Hospital Closure

April 22, 2010

Last October the NYC Landmarks Commission narrowly approved a hardship application for St. Vincent’s Hospital allowing demolition of the O’Toole Building to make way for a new $800 million hospital. This ruling is not transferable. Should St. Vincent’s choose now to sell the site, it would be sold with the O’Toole Building and no demolition approvals from the LPC. Hardship applications are limited to nonprofit entities and knowingly buying a property for which location in a historic district could limit an organization’s ability to pursue its charitable purpose doesn’t hold weight under hardship rules.

Losing a community hospital is never a good thing. In the end, preservation issues were not deciding factors in the closure of St. Vincent’s. The hospital’s mounting debts, plus economic downturn, made building the proposed new hospital unfeasible even with a sale of the eastern block property to Rudin Management Company. The O’Toole Building can be sensibly renovated—even added to if necessary—and become a vibrant component of a wholly new medical center and hospital for Greenwich Village.