MANHATTAN — New medical facilities planned for the site of the former St. Vincent's got the go-ahead from New York state on Friday, clearing the way for construction despite objections by activists who demand the return of a full-service hospital to Greenwich Village.
North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System's proposal to create the Lenox Hill Hospital Comprehensive Care Center has received final approval from state Department of Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, a spokesman for the department said Friday afternoon.
The planned facilities, which consist of a 24-hour emergency department, imaging center, ambulatory surgery facility and 24-hour ambulance services, were approved by the state Public Health and Health Planning Council on Oct. 6.
Some Village health care advocates at the planning council meeting Oct. 6 shouted "people will die," if there is not a full service hospital, Crain's New York Business reported.
And the Coalition for a New Village Hospital lobbied the planning council to deny the proposal.
"The petition before you today faces overwhelming community opposition, violates both New York state law and common sense, poses serious health risks and may indeed be of net detriment to the health of New Yorkers," a memo presented to the council read.
Coalition head Yetta Kurland was upset by the development.
"I'm beyond disappointed," she told DNAinfo. "It's really unfortunate and very serious when you think about trends for health care in the city, state and nation."
Community Board 2 chair Brad Hoylman was disappointed as well, but said that the board will try to make the best of the situation.
"The community board has testified to the State Department of Health that our community needs and demands a full service hospital to replace St. Vincent's and will continue to work towards that goal," he said. "That said, we are committed to working with North Shore - LIJ to make this the best facility possible and that no patients are turned away because of an inability to pay."
The planned health facilities — which will use the operating certificate of the Upper East Side's Lenox Hill Hospital — will serve an area of more than 385,000 residents and have two inpatient beds.
Construction of the facilities will reduce the size of the O'Toole Building, at 30 Seventh Ave., from about 160,000 square feet to about 140,000 square feet. The interior of the building will have to be gutted, according to project documents. The new facility, to which Rudin Development, LLC has committed $10 million, should be completed by Nov. 1, 2015.
"We are thrilled that West Siders are one step closer to regaining the desperately needed emergency services that they lost more than a year and a half ago," said Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for the Rudin family.
"With wait times rising at emergency rooms at all hospitals throughout the city, the comprehensive care center will be instrumental in helping alleviate that problematic situations."
An application by Rudin Management to rezone other parts of the former St. Vincent's campus to create luxury homes, a public park and space for retail is currently going through the Department of City Planning's land use review procedure.
On Oct. 20, Community Board 2 urged the city to shoot down the rezoning proposal in a nearly unanimous vote. The proposal will next be subject to an advisory vote by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
The City Planning Commission and City Council will then vote on the plans, following additional public hearings.