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Park Slope Will Lose Five Brownstones to Hospital Expansion

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Park Slope will lose five brownstones from an area near its historic district, according to a new plan unveiled last night by the New York Methodist Hospital. To keep pace with demand, the already sprawling complex plans to build a new, seven-floor building in the shape of a U on its property between Fifth and Sixth streets and Seventh and Eighth avenues. According to the hospital's plan, the new facility will house an urgent care wing, a "comprehensive" cancer center, 12 surgical suites, an endoscopy suite, and offices for hospital physicians. The shift is part of a greater trend toward specialty and outpatient care?and despite one board member's wish the building could be built out of Park Slope and in Cobble Hill, representatives from the hospital maintained that it had to be connected with the existing facilities.

The hospital has some swell real estate in Park Slope: just a block from Prospect Park, it owns the five vacant brownstones on Eighth Avenue at the corner of Fifth Street that it plans to demolish, as well as some row houses on Fifth Street. Lyn Hill, the hospital's spokeswoman, said that though the brownstones appeared in good condition from the outside, the interiors were dilapidated.

The new building, which planners said would be built with different exteriors and materials (though the details were scant) to better blend in with the smaller structures typical in Park Slope, requires a few variances that will come up for review in Community Board 6, as well as the Board of Standards and Appeals, in the fall. Current zoning allows for the building to be up to eight floors high. The hospital is currently working with Washington Square Partners on the development and Perkins Eastman on the architecture. The building, planners said, will be LEED certified and will include a green roof.

Residents at the meeting fixated on the effect the plan will have on the neighborhood's already tight parking real estate and were not assuaged by the hospital's assurances that its facility will come with 400 to 500 new parking spaces. The hospital will also provide a new road of sorts, a car access from Sixth to Fifth street in the middle of the block to allow for patient drop offs. Hospital reps compared that road to the neighborhood's historic places (Polhemus and Fiske, to be exact) that run perpendicular to the grid. Residents weren't quite biting on the plan, though it is still in its early stages. "In terms of outreach, I haven't seen any," said Laurie Sandow, a resident of Fifth Street. The hospital will hold public meetings about the plan in the fall and hopes to break ground in late 2014 or 2015.
?Eli Rosenberg
· New York Methodist Hospital coverage [Curbed]