The expansion will demolish several brownstones that are owned by the hospital to make way for a new 300,000-square-foot outpatient center.
“The federal government and private insurers are expecting that more and more services will be offered on an outpatient basis,” said Lynn Hill, a spokeswoman for Methodist Hospital. “That is why we need a new building to house an outpatient center.”
Changes to the expansion plan were reflective of input from a meeting over the summer. To update the community, the Park Slope Civic Council held a standing-room-only meeting last Monday at Congregation Beth Elohim on Seventh Avenue.
“The community has legitimate concerns about the size and layout of the structure,” said Michael Cairl, president of the Park Slope Civic Council. “The reason we are holding this forum is to be an honest broker.”
One of the changes will be the shape of the building itself. The original proposal had much of the expansion taking place at the corner of Fifth Street and Eighth Avenue. However, local residents in the area complained that the extension should not be on the corner but rather in the middle of the block.
Officials with Methodist Hospital announced that the bulk of the expanded building will now be in the middle of Sixth Street, across from the current hospital inpatient buildings.
In addition to the structure change, the community was briefed on the design of the new structure, which will attempt to fit in with the character of Park Slope.
However, the same presentation was given at a Community Board 6 Landmarks and Land Use Committee meeting the week before, and many felt that the hospital will be too tall at its highest point – 130 feet - for the neighborhood.
Another issue is increased traffic and a lack of parking. In the original proposal, a one-way road on hospital property would connect Sixth Street to Fifth Street as a drop-off area and access to a parking garage.
“Many of the concerns that people raised relate to traffic,” said Councilman Brad Lander, who attended the meeting.
Now, the plan would have people drop-off patients and access the parking garage from Sixth Street and then exit back onto Sixth Street.
Lander said he is going to convene a group made up of CB6 members, the hospital, and the Department of Transportation to come up with solutions to some of the issues.
“I am pleased that Methodist Hospital invited feedback from the public on its proposed expansion, meaningfully incorporated that feedback into their plans, and will continue the conversation as they move forward,” he said. “I trust and support their vision for an expanded Methodist.”
Construction on the project is expected to take three years and begin in late 2014 or early 2015.