Public hearing November 21
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
NY Methodist, located on Sixth Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, has proposed to demolish 16 buildings that it owns between 5th and 6th streets at 8th Avenue to build a nine-story outpatient care center.
Petitioners say the “mega-project” will alter the neighborhood’s historically small-scale character and remove “architecturally desirable buildings,” which include 82 occupied residential units. They also say the expansion will add “untold numbers of cars, ambulettes and commercial vehicles to already clogged streets.”
A public hearing is planned on November 21 at 6 p.m., where NY Methodist will make a presentation about its application for land use variances for the new building. The meeting will be held in the auditorium of the John Jay Educational Campus, 237 Seventh Avenue in Brooklyn.
NY Methodist says business is booming, but that it has to adapt to the new health care environment in order to thrive. “While many hospitals have seen inpatient volume go down in recent years, ours has grown—even as changes in healthcare delivery and technology have led to a shift from inpatient to outpatient services,” NY Methodist spokesperson Lyn Hill told the Brooklyn Eagle.
“The healthcare environment is changing quickly and if New York Methodist Hospital is to remain a successful institution, it is important that it be able to adapt to change,” she said. “Currently, outpatient services are shoehorned into various areas of our existing buildings, which were mostly intended for inpatient care,” or are located at other sites.
In late September, after hearing suggestions from neighbors, NY Methodist revised its original plans, Hill said. The traffic circulation pattern was changed so that all traffic to the new building would enter and exit on Sixth Street. In addition, drop-off space has been added to take cars and ambulettes discharging patients off Sixth Street.
The architects have moved the building area, as much as possible, off Fifth Street and Eighth Avenue and onto Sixth Street, across from the current inpatient buildings, Hill said. “The result is that the building is lower on Fifth Street and Eighth Avenue, with setbacks on these streets that further reduce the building’s massing.” Green roofs and green spaces will be incorporated into the design as well.
Sixth Street will be used as the main staging area for construction, she said, with cranes and hoisting equipment located there. “State-of-the-art equipment will be used to minimize noise and dust,” she added.
Preserve Park Slope, however, says the revised plans don’t address their traffic worries and the effect the new center will have on blocks further from the site.
Councilmember Brad Lander, who now supports the project, has convened a traffic task force to look at the issue. The task force includes representatives from DOT and NYPD, as well as Community Board Six, Park Slope Neighbors and the Park Slope Civic Council and hospital representatives.
NY Methodist encourages concerned residents to attend the November 21 hearing to add their input. Those who can’t attend can email their ideas to [email protected]