PARK SLOPE — New York Methodist Hospital will shrink the size of the controversial new building it's constructing at Sixth Street and Eighth Avenue under a settlement reached with opponents of the expansion.
The hospital's new Center for Community Health will now be six floors tall instead of seven, shaving some 28,000 square feet off the building, the hospital and the neighborhood group Preserve Park Slope said in a joint statement Thursday.
“We are pleased that we have reached this agreement, which will help to address the community’s concerns regarding the height of the new building, the impact of increased traffic especially on pedestrian safety, and the effect of the new building on the neighborhood character,” said Andrea Stewart, a member of Preserve Park Slope’s executive committee, in a statement.
Methodist expects to break ground on the project this year and hopes to finish by the end of 2018, a spokeswoman said.
Under the agreement, the hospital will move a pedestrian entrance that was going to be on the corner of Eighth Avenue at Sixth Street farther down the block on Sixth Street, and will add a "landscaped area" along Eighth Avenue.
New York Methodist also agreed to pay for a traffic engineer who will come up with a "comprehensive operational traffic management plan" for the expansion. Clogged streets and pedestrian safety were at the top of opponents' list of concerns about the expansion.
Preserve Park Slope sued the hospital last summer over the new building, saying it was too big and would create too much traffic in the already congested streets surrounding the hospital.
The hospital's Center for Community Health will bring about 100,000 patients a year to the neighborhood and will house outpatient services, including a cancer center.
Locals fought the project from the time it was announced in the summer of 2013, arguing that the new building didn't fit with the neighborhood and that the hospital didn't make a compelling case for why it needed the new facility.
Preserve Park Slope even convinced the city's Board of Standards and Appeals to hold a rare second hearing on the zoning variances the hospital needs for the expansion. After the hearing, the BSA declined to change its initial approval of the project.
The new building will span the block between Fifth and Sixth streets and Seventh and Eighth avenues, across the street from Methodist's existing inpatient building. The hospital will tear down 16 buildings it owns to build the new center.