Meet St. Vincent’s Replacement
The Wall Street Journal 3/11/2011
By Shelly Banjo
St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers of New York, which filed for bankruptcy and closed last April, will end up as part luxury housing complex and part emergency-medicine center under a deal announced Thursday.
The Rudin family, one of New York’s richest landlords, has agreed to buy most of the sprawling three-acre site along Seventh Avenue in Greenwich village. It plans 300 apartments and five townhouses there.
And North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System is putting up $100 million to renovate the O’Toole building on Seventh Avenue and turn it into a medical complex, with a 24-hour emergency medical department.
The Rudin family also will pay $10 million to North Shore-LIJ toward the building’s renovation and between $5 million and $10 million to pay for a public park at the St. Vincent’s triangle.
The deal must be approved by the bankruptcy court next month. But the hospital’s board of directors and its creditors have signed off on it, St. Vincent’s chief restructuring officer, Mark Toney, said.
St. Vincent’s had considered another bid by a partnership composed of a real-estate developer and a health provider. But it ultimately decided on the private sale to the Rudin family in order to move the deal along at a faster pace, Mr. Toney said.
Shortly after the court approves the sale, William Rudin said he plans to begin the city’s land-use process to convert four existing hospital buildings and demolish four others, replacing them with seven luxury apartment buildings and five townhouses on the former hospital’s east campus.
The Rudin family has been working on the St. Vincent’s redevelopment project for nearly five years. In 2009, it received approval from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to turn the hospital into a medical facility surrounded by 300 units of luxury apartments and town houses. Under the original deal, the family business would have paid close to $300 million for the campus.
Mr. Rudin said he expects to complete the residential project by late 2014 or early 2015.
Meanwhile, North Shore-LIJ said it plans to file with the New York State Department of Health next month for a certificate of need to operate the medical facility.
The renovated six-story, 160,000-square-foot complex would open in the fall of 2013. Serving between 400 and 500 patients a day, it would fill a gaping hole in the neighborhood’s emergency medical facilities, including ambulatory care and imaging facilities, that were lost when the 160-year-old hospital closed last spring.
However, the new medical complex won’t fulfill all of the neighborhood’s needs, such as responding to level-one trauma for patients who have been in a severe car accident. A full-service hospital with an intensive-care unit, providing the highest level of surgical care and in-patient services, would be a much more costly operation to run than an out-patient facility.