Hospital for Special Surgery Unveils Plans for New Building—June 14, 2012

Hospital for Special Surgery unveiled plans Wednesday to build a 207,000-square-foot, 13-story ambulatory care facility.

The new glassy structure stretching from East 73rd to 74th streets, between York Avenue and the FDR Drive, would rise just three blocks north of the hospital's main building on East 70th Street, which recently got a five-story addition.

The proposed building would include three floors of operating rooms for ambulatory surgeries — where patients stay up to 23 hours — along with a floor for recovery.

Many hospitals on the East Side are building ambulatory care facilities.

Last year, Hospital for Special Surgery performed 12,000 ambulatory surgeries and 14,000 in-patient surgeries, said Deborah Sale, executive vice president of external affairs for HSS, during a presentation to Community Board 8. The board voted overwhelmingly to approve the project.

The new building would free up ambulatory operating rooms in the main building, which would be renovated — and made larger — to accommodate more in-patient procedures. HSS already moved or is in the process of moving 8,000 minor surgeries to a recently completed facility on East 75th Street, Sale noted.

The hospital is also seeking to increase the number of permitted parking spaces on-site from 33 to 98 so it can be “as self-contained,” as possible, Sale said, noting that the facility didn’t want to clog garages in the area.

The institution completed its first step in the public approval process by appearing before the community board.

“We have built only when the pressure is so great that we have to expand,” Sale said.

“We think it is not out of character with the neighborhood,” she added of the proposed building. “We want to make it as light as it can be and fit into the context of the block.”

She said the BSA application said construction wouldn't start until 2014, though Sale anticipates it wouldn’t actually start until 2015.

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