Fred Mogul, Reporter, WNYC News
Fred Mogul has been covering healthcare and medicine for WNYC since 2002.
The developer who purchased the former St. Vincent's Hospital complex has launched a public relations campaign to win over West Village residents skeptical about a substitute medical facility.
Rudin Management Co. has recruited former Mayor Ed Koch as chairman of the newly created Westside Healthcare Coalition. In addition to constructing luxury condos, the Rudins entered a deal with North Shore-LIJ, a Nassau County-based health network, to convert one of the existing buildings into a medical facility with a limited-service emergency department.
The Rudin-backed coalition has sent out email and flyers asking for support and set up a website to explain the project. But neighborhood opponents like the Coalition for a New Village Hospital have called the flyers misleading. They have opposed the deal from the start, saying the area needs a hospital with a full-service emergency room and inpatient beds.
"They should go out and see if they can find someone who's willing to take on and run a full hospital," Koch said. "I don't think that's possible."
The $260 million purchase includes the O'Toole Building on West 12th Street and a donation of $10 million to North Shore. The deal still needs the approval of local and state planning authorities. North Shore has pledged $100 million to renovate the building and open it by late 2013.