Chetrit development of former St. Vincent’s Midtown site to move forward next month

Development on the Midtown site of St. Vincent’s hospital is expected
to move forward next month, with the  Chetrit Group planning
to turn the property into apartments, DNAinfo reported. Since the site,
at 415 West 51st Street, closed in the face of debt in 2007,  it has accumulated numerous building violations. Residents say that
for at least two years, the building has attracted rats, that there is
smelly standing water, that scaffolding on the site lacked proper
lighting and that homeless people were spending time there.

This past Friday,
electrical workers were going in and out of the building, but would
not comment on what they were doing, according to DNAinfo, which
reported that the Chetrit Group told local officials their plans were
moving forward. The officials hope that the many issues in the building will
go away once the development is completed, and have met several times
with the Chetrit Group about the ongoing problems.

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In response, the
developer promised to tighten security and improve efforts to get rid
of rats, though those plans haven’t always been implemented. “In
public meetings, they’ve been responsive,” said Sarah Meier-Zimbler, a
liaison for area for State Senator Tom Duane. “But outside of those
meetings they’ve been less responsive. Sometimes it’s hard to track
them down.”

According to Department of Buildings records, the property has
accumulated numerous violations over the years, including a citation
in July 2010 for failing to maintain the building after inspectors
found the basement and sub-basement filled with water, which fire
officials had to pump. At an Aug. 18 meeting with Duane’s office and
the local block association, the Chetrit Group pledged to provide a
single contact person for its project, who would meet with the block
association once a month. [DNAinfo] 

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