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The War Over Greenwich Village Begins Today

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As you may have heard, St. Vincent's Hospital is planning a little expansion. OK, a huge one. The details are messy, but here's the gist: St. Vincent's has partnered with developer William Rudin to build a new, 21-story facility on Seventh Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets, which would take the place of the loved/hated O'Toole building. The old St. Vincent's, across the street, would be sold, razed, and replaced with a 21-story luxury condo building. A row of townhouses and a smaller mid-block apartment building would be built along 11th and 12th Streets, looking something like this. This proposal would certainly be controversial anywhere in the city, but it's especially complicated by the fact that St. Vincent's?a beloved, respected and necessary community facility?is in a protected historic district. It's the biggest proposed development in Greenwich Village in 50 years, and there has already been some nasty back-and-forth between the hospital and preservationists. Still, that was all an appetizer. The real showdown begins today.

For the deal to get done, St. Vincent's/Rudin needs approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the City Planning Commission and the City Council. A tall task, indeed. The LPC hearing began at 9:30 a.m. today, and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (which rallied its troops for the hearing) expects the affair to last the whole day. The hospital team will present until about 12:30, at which point there will be a 60-minute lunch break and then many many hours of preservationists, neighbors and assorted crazies ranting for or against about the proposal (mainly against, given the call-to-arms). The Times has a good preview, with many pro-hospital arguments centering around the claim that St. Vincent's needs this deal to survive. Guilt trip!

Meanwhile, in advance of the LPC hearing, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation released an animation on YouTube to give people a feel for the scale of the proposal. Unfortunately, the Star Wars theme song doesn't play in the background while the clip pans over the Village, but the video still does the trick. Here it is:

And that's not all! The results of the informal online survey sponsored by Community Board 2, State Senator Tom Duane and Representative Jerry Nadler to gauge local opinions on the St. Vincent's plan have been released just in time, and you can download the stats right here (warning: PDF). There were over 1,500 responses to the survey, and not surprisingly, while "a majority of respondents in both the immediate vicinity of the hospital and beyond say that having a state-of-the-art hospital facility in the Village is very or somewhat important, concerns about construction and demolition protocols, the height and bulk of the new residential tower and hospital building, and other aspects of the project are widespread."
· More St. Vincent's Arm Wrestling Coming [Curbed]
· St. Vincent's West Village Fight Heating Up Again [Curbed]
· More Images of St. Vincent's W. Village Remodel [Curbed]