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Hospital for Special Surgery Seeks Permit to Expand as Demand Grows

  The hospital wants to build a 4-story glass box that will jut out of the 70th Street building.
Hospital for Special Surgery
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UPPER EAST SIDE — The Hospital for Special Surgery wants to expand by attaching a glass box to the 70th Street side of its building — making room for more operation rooms and allowing the hospital to perform 2,500 more surgeries per year, according to plans filed with the city this month.

The nationally renowned hospital, located next to the FDR Drive and East 70th Street, is seeking a special permit from the city that will allow it to expand the west wing of its main hospital building so that it can fit more operating rooms, examination rooms and offices, according to a Land Use Review application filed with City Planning on March 16.

As it is, the hospital is expected to be at capacity within the next two years, but the special permit would let it build an extra 8,000 square feet.

“HSS is a teaching hospital recognized throughout the world as one of the leading institutions in both orthopedic and rheumatologic research and care. Because of its renown and success in treatment, HSS has faced nearly continuous demand for additional facilities,” the plan says.

“In order to accommodate present demand and maintain its ability to recruit the most qualified physicians, HSS needs to continue to grow both in terms of its staff and in terms of its physical plant.”

In the last decade, the number of procedures done at the hospital has increased by 77 percent, and the staff has increased by 95 percent, according to the plan.

The expansion of the west wing would start on the third floor and extend up four floors — meaning it will hover over East 70th Street, the plan says.

The design of the building is made up of opaque and transparent glass, and will jut out of the building in a rectangular shape.

The addition will not be visible from the street level though, because views of it will be hidden by New York Presbyterian Hospital’s existing Starr Pavilion and the steep slope of the service ramp coming off the FDR, the plan says.

HSS also plans to build a 12-story River Building that will expand from the east wing on the north side of 71st Street. The special permit for that work was approved in 2008, and will be done “as part of [HSS’s] future capital expansion program.”

The Hospital for Special Surgery did not respond to requests for comment.

HSS presented the plan to Community Board 8's Land Use committeee on March 11 as a courtesy, and it wasn't up for vote.

"It's not visible from the street, and it's not a residential area, so it won't have a much impact on the neighborhood," said Jim Clynes, chair of CB8. "They're world renowned. With success, comes more patients."