St. Vincent’s Site Is Rising
The Wall Street Journal 11/5/2011
By JOSH BARBANEL
The walls of doctors’ offices have been knocked down and replaced with light-filled kitchens and curved plaster moldings in a building that was once part of the St. Vincent’s Hospital campus, as the first signs of a rebirth emerge at the bitterly fought-over hospital site.
The 12-story building, plus penthouse, at 130 W. 12th St. near Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village housed medical and administrative offices and some staff apartments for St. Vincent’s. It was sold for $55 million in January 2010, a few months before the hospital closed.
Now the site in the Greenwich Village Historic District is being restored by the Rudin Family Development into what had been its original use upon completion in 1941: an apartment building.
Stribling Marketing Associates is scheduled to open an on-site sales office on Monday, offering 42 condominius priced between $1.4 million and $12.85 million. The building is due to open next spring.
That is to be followed by a much larger development by the Rudins on the main hospital site featuring as many as 450 market-rate condominiums. Due to be completed in 2015, it is to include a 203-foot-high tower on Seventh Avenue that has engendered opposition from preservationists. The Rudins paid $260 million for the site in bankruptcy court earlier this year.
The restoration of 130 W. 12th St. into apartments with asking prices averaging nearly $2,000 per square foot has faced little opposition, and there is a list of 200 potential buyers waiting for appointments on the new on-site sales office, according to William C. Rudin, the chief executive of Rudin Management.
“It is a wonderful block in the heart of the Village, and when people see what we have created there will be a very strong interest,” he said.
When the building opened in mid-1941, early enough in the year for it to qualify as a much-vaunted “pre-war” apartment building, it had warren of 116 apartments, and two maids’ rooms. It was known as the Revere and had a sales slogan: “Minutes away from business. Miles away from Bedlam.”
The building has been pared down to 42 units by Cook + Fox Architects. It has some unusual features, including apartments with sunken living rooms, a number of duplexes and ground-floor apartments with rear yards. Four rooftop apartments were converted into a $12.85 million penthouse.
The restoration work on the building brought a studiously neutral reaction from preservationists who have been opposing the development plans for the rest of the St. Vincent’s Hospital site. “We haven’t had any objections to 130 W. 12th St.,” said Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.
Brokers say there is strong demand for condominiums in the Village. They cited sales that according to Streeteasy.com have averaged $1,787 a square foot at Devonshire House, a condo conversion on East 10th Street.
Wendy Maitland, a managing director at Town Residential, said many developers were on the prowl for development and conversion sites in the Village.
The Rudin family signed a contract to buy 130 W. 12th St. in 2007, at a time when St. Vincent’s had just emerged from a prior bankruptcy and was looking to raise capital. They provided the hospital with $55 million in funding, and St. Vincent’s gradually moved its operations out of the building.
In 2007, the Rudins agreed to provide St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center $300 million for the costs of building a new hospital across the street, in exchange for the rights to put up a large condominium development on the site of the hospital.
After St. Vincent’s filed for bankruptcy, the Rudins put in the highest bid for the property and paid $260 million for it. The Rudins provided $10 million and a site for a new 24-hour medical emergency department in the O’Toole building across the street from the main St. Vincent’s site, to be developed by North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.