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O’Toole back in the news

July 19, 2011

In April the North Shore-LIJ Health System became the new owner of the O’Toole Building—the big white structure with the scallop-edge precast panels on Seventh Avenue between 12th and 13th streets. Originally the Joseph Curran Building of the National Maritime Union, it was designed by Albert Ledner and completed in 1964. It’s now part of the Greenwich Village Historic District. Lenox Hill Hospital, a division of North Shore-LIJ Health System, is in the process of redeveloping the O’Toole Building as a comprehensive care medical facility providing hospital emergency room services, diagnostic imaging, ambulatory surgery and physicians’ practices.

North Shore-LIJ and its architects, Perkins Eastman, presented the project to CB2’s Landmarks & Public Aesthetics Committee on July 5 and will return to CB2 for a vote by the full board July 21. This will be followed by a Certificate of Appropriateness public hearing at the Landmarks Preservation Commission on July 26.

The link below has the reuse and renovation plan as submitted to the LPC for internal review on in early June. It’s probable that minor changes will have been made to these plans before the public hearing, but as shown the document provides a good overall sense of how the rehabilitated O’Toole Building will look. (The final proposal is customarily available for public review at the Commission the Friday prior to the hearing.)

On July 6 DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State board members Kyle Johnson and Kathleen Randall met with the architects to learn more about the renovation and to ask our sticky questions. There is much to be commended, including a comprehensive façade restoration, and tentatively—as we have not seen exactly what will go before the Commission—only a little that raises concern or objection.

DOCOMOMO New York/Tri-State has been following the fate of the Curran/O’Toole Building for close to five years and has always advocated for its preservation and reuse. Finding a new long-term use is the best way to “save” a building so we are excited about this project. DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State will testify at the Certificate of Appropriateness hearing on the 26th and do our part to see that the elements that make the O’Toole a Modern landmark are respected in the transformation to the new use.

The hearing is open to the public. Visit the LPC web site later this week for a schedule with the approximate time.

View the full proposal in PDF on the website of the Westside Health Care Coalition (select the middle PDF, horizontal format.)

© Perkins Eastman