Northwell to show updated plans to North Hempstead zoning

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A new rendering of the North Shore University Hospital's proposed advanced surgical pavilion shows the planned mirrored facade to reduce the visual impact from its neighbor, Greentree Foundation. (Photo courtesy of Cannon Designs)

Officials with Northwell Health will show updated plans to the Town of North Hempstead Zoning Board next week for a $342 million advanced surgical pavilion on the grounds of the North Shore University Hospital.

The meeting is a follow-up to a presentation given to the zoning board last October.

Associate Executive Director of Hospital Operations Derek Anderson said Northwell has used the ensuing eight months to elicit feedback and incorporate that feedback into their design of the proposed seven-floor structure.

“We’ve already walked the Town [of North Hempstead] through the redesign, and now we’re going through the specifics with the [zoning] board,” he said.

Northwell’s plan calls for space for 44 intensive care unit beds and 18 operating rooms for transplants, open heart surgery, neurosurgery and complex orthopedic and spinal surgeries, among other procedures.

There will also be two shell floors for future ICU beds. The goal of the expansion is to increase capacity, improve patient experience and provide new services to patients so they no longer have to travel to New York City for care.

Anderson said in response to concerns expressed at previous meetings the health care system had rearranged the floors of the building.

The mechanical floor was originally going to be on the fifth floor, but will now be on the top (seventh) floor, which allows it to be indented on the east and west sides. And since the mechanical floor has no hospital rooms, there will be less light shining from the top floor at night.

We do lose some efficiency, but it allows us to shift the top occupied floor down almost 20 feet,” he said. “So over time, as trees grow in and the buffer zone grows in, that top level will be almost invisible from Greentree side of the property.”

The expansion will come almost up to the edge of the property line shared by Northwell and the Greentree Foundation, although Anderson said that Northwell will not need a back setback variance for the project.

Trees will be planted to hide the building from view and Anderson said a fire lane was moved to create a larger buffer zone of vegetation between the building and the Greentree property.

He said the parapet, or edge, of the roof would be 95 feet high. A cooling tower on top will bring the height up to 111 feet after changes were made to the original design.

The top floor will also have reflective glass that will help it blend in with the sky; this reflective glass will wrap around the entire top floor of the pavilion.

Anderson said he wasn’t particularly worried about birds crashing into the glass, as Northwell has other buildings with the same type of windows and he said there had not been reports of birds hitting them.

Northwell and Cannon released the new designs to the public earlier this month.

While they do not need a back setback variance, the project will need variances for front-yard setback, side-yard setback, building height and on-site parking.

When first reviewing the plans in February, Greentree Foundation President Nicholas Gabriel said that the North Shore University Hospital had “boxed themselves into a corner,” which Anderson said was a fair assessment.

“There really is no other location we can build this,” he said. “All the services this [expansion] needs are connected to the existing hospital, the only place to build new ICUs is in this location.”

He said that Northwell had tried to cooperate with Greentree to limit the visual impact, but there was only so much they could do.

“While they appreciate the efforts we’ve made to make the building less visual, they still have concerns that it’s too large and too close to the property,” he said. “But we’re moving ahead and Greentree is aware of that.”

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