UPPER EAST SIDE — The "medical arms race" between top-tier health institutions appears to be speeding up.
Despite opposition from open space and tenant advocates, Community Board 8 ultimately supported New York-Presbyterian Hopsital's planned expansion on York Avenue, between East 68th and 69th streets, at a meeting Wednesday.
New York-Presbyterian hospital had petitioned CB 8 for "variances" that would let it build a bigger facility and get more parking space than is allowed under its current zoning.
Community board votes are not legally binding — the hospital must get the greenlight from the city's Board of Standards and Appeals — but the board's opinion is considered during that process.
Hospital officials said they submitted the petition to Standards and Appeals on Dec. 10, 2013.
The proposed facility would be 15 stories and feature six floors of ambulatory care as well as a five-floor maternity hospital. The ambulatory and maternity wards are 344,412 and 224,389-square feet, respectively. Services that will be offered include imaging, surgery, endoscopy, radiation therapy for cancer patients, along digestive disease clinics.
The maternity hospital will feature a neonatal ICU, maternal fetal medicine, and private rooms for expectant and recent mothers.
CB8's decision, however, did not come without some debate.
Some at the meeting said they worried the building would exacerbate a lack of open space, a concern that's been raised about other area medical developments.
And because the center would replace two apartment buildings — home mostly to New York-Presbyterian hospital staff — others expressed concern for residents displaced from some 270 units.
The hospital said it had notified residents and was working with brokers to relocate them either to other New York-Presbytarian properties in the area or comparable accommodations.
One resident, B. Cummings, was not satisfied. She asked about residents who live in rent controlled apartments and seniors.
"They're not offering the equivalent of what people have," she told the board. "I'd like to feel like you are addressing this because it's very disruptive with people."
One community board member even said she would not support the measure unless the hospital would "guarantee" replacement housing within CB8.
"If you can't provide housing, how is this going to affect both the resident and the fellowship programs?" asked Michele Birnbaum, a CB8 member who supported the project.
"We're working to rehouse in our other inventory, so they will remain on campus," answered Sharon Greenberger, senior vice president of facilities development and engineering at New York-Presbyterian.
CB8 also decided Wednesday to support Cornell Tech's Roosevelt Island campus.
The New York-Presbytarian project is part of a hospital expansion trend on the East Side which also includes CUNY Memorial Sloan-Kettering's planned East 73rd Street campus and Mount Sinai Medical Center's just opened research facility.