Can Bill Rudin Really Revive St. Vincent’s? Probably Not
Matt Chaban Nov. 15, 2010, 5:58 p.m.
Bill Rudin has not given up on dearly departed St. Vincent’s Hospital, according to The Journal. The third-generation developer, looking to live up to the great works of his pops and pop-pop, is “working quietly to salvage his ambitious project,” which includes a condo tower and a number of smaller apartments and townhouses across the street from the new hospital.
Among the challenges is whether or not Bill Rudin can reach a deal with St. Vincent’s creditors to buy the project for less than the $300 million Rudin Management first offered the hospital. There is also the threat of rival bidders, as The Journal notes:
Mr. Rudin has a clear advantage. He owns the plans that he spent three years preparing and getting approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, a contentious process involving preservationists and neighborhood groups. A new buyer would have to start from square one.
Yet Rudin might have to start from square one, as well. The only firm authorized to tear down the landmarked O’Toole Building is St. Vincent’s, for the purposes of building its new hospital. With the hospital gone, were anyone else to try and tear down O’Toole, they would have to seek approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which would almost certainly refuse. It only gave St. Vincent’s the necessary approvals after it filed a hardship application arguing it had no choice but to demolish Alber C. Ledner’s former Maritime Union headquarters, dubbed by some the overbite building for its distinct facade.
This does not mean Rudin could not still buy the old pieces of St. Vincent’s and develop them as the 450-unit luxury apartment complex the developer initially envisioned. That said, there could be no changes to the originally approved plans. The bigger challenge, though, would be convincing the community to support such outsized buildings without a medical facility attached. Were one to be included somewhere in the Rudin complex, this, too, would likely trigger another review by the commission.