New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

The Jewish Voice Hospital for Special Surgery to Begin $300M Expansion Plan Above FDR Drive by Harry Cherry

Hospital for Special Surgery to Begin $300M Expansion Plan Above FDR Drive

The Hospital for Special Surgery is starting a $300 million expansion plan — to construct doctors offices and patient rooms above FDR Drive, according to Crain’s.

The proposed building will be constructed by E. 71st Street and E. 72nd Street, according to Crain’s New York.

After completion, most patient rooms at HSS will become private, Crain’s reported, reducing the risk of infection.

“The River Building is a critical component of continuing to protect, invest in and modernize our main campus,” the Hospital’s CEO Louis Shapiro said in a statement. “Modernizing is sort of like trying to repave a New York City road: You need to shut down the road to pave it, and we can’t do that.”

The new offices in the building will allow for greater cooperation between experts in joint replacement and spine surgery, Shapiro told Crain’s. “It allows us to bring people together who are now scattered all over the place,” he said.

Shapiro said that they plan to start construction “within the next year.”

“These are the last air rights we own and have full rights to,” he said, adding: “We have full intention to construct this building.”

HSS will announce another project — the construction of the River building as part of a “transformation” of its campus later this year, according to Crain’s.

Multiple businesses and organization over time have sued the Hospital in an attempt the construction of the River building.

Most notably, Edgewater apartments, a cooperative across the street from where the building is slated to be constructed, has sued the hospital twice.

Edgewater apartments also sued the city’s City Planning Commission in 2008, in an attempt to stop the long-proposed project.

In a 2017 court filing, according to Crain’s, the apartment community’s lawyer said that the commission’s renewal of permits “means that a developer who obtains special privileges to build through issuance of a special permit can sit back for years before deciding to begin construction.”

New York Supreme Court Judge Carol Edmead dismissed the lawsuit last year against HSS.

“Our clients are planning to vigorously contest HSS’ right to put up the building they’ve proposed,” David Scharf, an attorney for Edgewater Apartments, told Crain’s. He acknowledged that the lawsuit is holding up the project.

“When you deal with land-use issues like this, the prevailing wisdom often is you don’t want to start and have to go back to zero,” he said.

New York City Councilman Ben Kallos appeared to suggest that he is willing to work with the Hospital on any concerns he may have.

“I think we can work with HSS to address any concerns,” he said, according to Crain’s. “They’ve been a really good partner.”

 

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