At a Community Board 6 Land Use Committee meeting on Thursday, July 12, at the hospital, officials from Methodist Hospital outlined a plan that would significantly enlarge the outpatient capacity of the facility.
The plan proposed that 16 buildings owned by the hospital, including four brownstones, be demolished to make way for a U-shaped building that would be eight stories high at it’s highest point.
The proposed building would take up all of the 8th Avenue side of the block, and roughly half of the 6th Street side. The building would fall into three separate residential zones, so Methodist would need a zoning change through a variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals.
The project will not go through the city's official land use review process, which ultimately requires approval from the City Council.
The new facility include surgery, recovery and urgent rooms, however Lyn Hill, a representative of the hospital, made it clear that no new patient beds would be added. The facility will only be used for outpatient procedures.
Construction on the project is anticipated to occur over a three-year period beginning in late 2014 or early 2015.
Residents who attended the meeting were concerned about how the new facility would fit in with the rest of the neighborhood.
“What you see when you walk the streets of Park Slope is a whole variety of styles, shapes and architectural characters; nothing is really the same,” said Peter Cavaluzzi, who represents the architectural firm handling the expansion. “[We are] not necessarily designing a building that is based on a preconceived notion of what Park Slope is, but really looking at what Park Slope is.”
“People do not move to Park Slope for Methodist Hospital,” said one Fifth Street resident. “They move here for the look and feel of the brownstones.”
Another issue was parking and an increase in traffic.
“You might have not only drop-offs and pick-ups, but others are going to be there for a significant amount of time, “ said Jerry Armer of Community Board 6. “At that point you might have not only the traffic flow coming into the current entrance, but additional traffic. You have a fairly significant traffic flow going down the street right now.”
In an attempt to alleviate congestion, the plan includes a new two-way street leading from 6th Street to 5th Street through the hospital's campus. Additionally, an underground parking garage capable of holding 400 to 500 cars is also part of the project.
Methodist Hospital will hold a public meeting on the project in September.