Northwell considers new surgical pavilion designs after Greentree concerns

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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)

Northwell Health and Cannon Designs have released new plans for the $342 million advanced surgical pavilion planned at North Shore University Hospital after its neighbor Greentree Foundation and the Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations voiced their concerns about the height and design.

The new plan for North Shore University Hospital’s advanced surgical pavilion shows the seventh floor indented on the east and west sides to reduce the visual impact of the building. (Photo courtesy of Cannon Designs)

Richard Bentley, president of the council, emailed members a copy of a new design plan on June 27, highlighting a few structural changes to the proposed building, including rearranging the structure of the seven stories as well as indenting the top floor to reduce the visual impact.

In the latest designs, the mechanical floor, which was originally slated for the fifth floor, will be moved to the seventh floor.

At its peak, the building would reach about 138 feet including the rooftop cooling tower, and the roof itself would be about 111 feet high.

The remaining levels will be the same, with the shell floors for the intensive care units to move into over time being slotted for the fifth and sixth floors instead of the sixth and seventh floors.

The reason the mechanical floor was originally tucked between the different floor of intensive care units, Cannon Designs architect Andrew Pecora said in January, was for efficiency.

However, since the mechanical floor will have no hospital rooms, there will be less interior light shining through the top floor at night, which will reduce the visual impact, he said.

The first three floors will be connected to Payson Whitney Tower for ease of traffic through the lobby and for movement of surgical and intensive care patients.

The north side of the advanced surgical building is planned to be mere feet from the Greentree Foundation, a 425-acre estate formerly owned by the Whitney family that is now used as a nonprofit organization and meeting place for the United Nations and its Security Council.

Currently from the Greentree Foundation, you can see the Payson Whitney Tower.

A mirrored facade is also expected to be added to the top floor on the north side of the building, which will reduce the visual impact of the building by reflecting the sky.

“The new north facade improvements do not change the overall building’s footprint [and] retains the healthcare improvement objectives of the building, while greatly reducing the negative visual impact of the new building on the neighboring Greentree,” Bentley said in his email.

The top floor is also planned to be slightly angled, Bentley said, to reduce bird fatalities; birds often perceive mirrored buildings as open skies.

North Shore University Hospital COO Derek Anderson said the hospital’s ultimate goal is to move all intensive care patients into private rooms in the advanced surgical pavilion before renovating existing rooms into private rooms as well.

The pavilion will require five variances,
including front-yard and side-yard setback approvals. (Photo courtesy of Cannon Design)

With the proposed modifications, the current site plan would require five variances for front-yard setback, side-yard setback, back setback, on-site parking and building height.

The building is projected to be 111 feet, 8 inches high, which is similar to the neighboring Payson Whitney Tower, and the Town of North Hempstead’s code requires a height of no more than 72 feet.

The variances and overall plan still require approval from the Town of North Hempstead.

Since the proposed pavilion will connect to the existing facilities, a back setback of zero feet must be approved, and a front-yard setback of 55.2 feet where 75 feet is required and a side-yard setback of 27.5 feet where 35 feet is required will also require approval.

The civic groups became involved with the project after Anderson made a presentation to the group in January before Greentree Foundation President Nicholas Gabriel voiced his concerns about the project in the February meeting.

“We’re not against their program,” Gabriel said of the hospital. “We’re not against them improving their setup, but they’ve boxed themselves into this corner. We support the hospital and we support what it does, but in this case, they are doing something that will really have an impact on us and our ability to carry on with our mission.”

Reach reporter Amelia Camurati by email at acamurati@theislandnow.com, by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 215, or follow her on Twitter @acamurati.

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