Healthy Development

Other
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
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The new condo tower, seen from Seventh Avenue looking south. The new hospital would rise just out of frame to the right. (Courtesy FXFowle)

The new condo tower, seen from Seventh Avenue looking south. The new hospital would rise just out of frame to the right. (Courtesy FXFowle)

We’ve been following the proposed hospital cum condos plan for St. Vincent’s rather closely as its percolated through the LPC the past year-and-a-half, but due to conflicting plans and just a smidge of St. Vincent’s fatigue, we couldn’t make it to yesterday’s latest hearing on the Rudin condo proposal. As we understand it, though, it was no different than the proposal unveiled 51 weeks prior. What was on view, however, were some fancy new renderings of those same old buildings, which you can find here.

The complex of condos on 13th Street includes a mix of new and old buildings. (Courtesy FXFowle)

The complex of condos on 13th Street includes a mix of new and old buildings. (Courtesy FXFowle)

According to the Times, the proceedings were raucous as usual, with some 80 opponents speaking out against the project, a 233-foot condo tower designed by FXFowle along with a handful of condo conversions made out of historic hospital building. These apartments, developed by Rudin Management, are meant to help finance the recently approved 286-foot hospital tower designed by Pei Cobb Freed that will rise across Seventh Avenue on the site of Albert Ledner’s former National Maritime Union Headquarters.

Plans for 12th Street include modern townhouses, meant to create a more natural transition between the surrounding neighborhood and the taller buildings.

Plans for 12th Street include modern townhouses, meant to create a more natural transition between the surrounding neighborhood and the taller buildings.

“Essentially, they felt the building had to come down,” LPC spokeswoman Elisabeth de Bourbon told us today in a phone interview. Did they happen to say how big is too big? “They didn’t specify,” de Bourbon replied. “They just said it was too bulky and too tall.” Dan Kaplan, the FXFowle partner in charge of the project, assured us the firm would be back. “I was encouraged by the Commisisoners’ constructive comments on the scheme presented,” he wrote in an email.

The designers had initally proposed a larger condo tower (center) to replace the hospital (right), though they have scaled it down (left) to a building the commission still deems too large.

The designers had initally proposed a larger condo tower (center) to replace the hospital (right), though they have scaled it down (left) to a building the commission still deems too large.

As for these renderings, it’s always impossible to tell what a building will really look like once it’s built, but these don’t seem so bad, do they? Then again, the design team has often been criticized by the commission for manipulating their media to only produce the desired affect. But hey, who can blame ‘em?

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