Memorial Sloan-Kettering denies community pleas to build taller

February 10, 2012 01:00PM

In a bizarre twist to the typical community board complaints of a developer building too tall, neighbors of the planned 172,000-square-foot Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at York Avenue and 61st Street are urging the hospital to build a taller tower. And Sloan-Kettering refused.

According to DNAinfo, residents of the co-op at 440 East 62nd Street are concerned that the hospital’s current plans would block apartment windows and box the building in, so they’ve asked Sloan-Kettering to build a taller, slimmer tower above an 85-foot base.

Though hospital officials have been in constant dialogue with co-op representatives, they told Community Board 8 this week that they wouldn’t be able to accommodate the residents. The center’s 12 surgery rooms would need the larger floor plates of the building’s base, which would then force recovery rooms to the higher floors. But the hospital wants recovering patients as close to the ground floor as possible for easier access to the main hospital nearby. Further, the hospital would need a variance to build 25 percent taller as the co-op residents proposed.

The co-op’s attorney has asked for proof that the hospital’s argument holds true, and the community board has decided to hold off on a vote in hopes that the two parties can come to an understanding.

“I think we all empathize with our neighbors,” board member Sarah Chu said. “At the same time, Sloan-Kettering is our neighbor, too, and a world-class institution. We may need to go there one day.” [DNAinfo]