By Sabina Mollot
During a day of picketing by unionized nurses and other employees of Beth Israel last month, one longtime employee told us that demolition of the site that is to become the future, smaller hospital has been delayed thanks to asbestos. In response, she said, employees who are awaiting the renewal of their contracts in September, have been told they may need to stick around longer than planned at the First Avenue flagship building, which is slowly being emptied of different departments.
Asked about this, a spokesperson for Mount Sinai confirmed the presence of asbestos at the future hospital, which will be located where there is currently another of the network’s hospitals, New York Eye & Ear Infirmary’s residential building, on East 13th Street and Second Avenue. However, she indicated the project is moving on schedule.
“The scheduled demolition and abatement of this building continues as planned and is projected to be completed this fall,” said Lucia Lee. “Our architects, designers and construction firms have been hired and working diligently on the planning. Once the demo is completed we will begin the first construction phase of the new building, pending approvals, including the Certificate of Need (CON). In the meantime, the current Beth Israel hospital remains open and fully accessible to the community and will remain so until the new hospital is opened.”
Meanwhile, a former Beth Israel property at 311 First Avenue and 18th Street, the row of small buildings next to the now sold Gilman Hall, are also undergoing asbestos abatement. Signs indicating asbestos at the property, once home to the Karpas Health Information Center, have been up for months as workers have dismantled the structure from inside. As Town & Village has previously reported, the buildings are slated for full demolition, though its new owner, the California-based developer CIM Group, which also bought Gilman Hall, has been mum on its plans for the properties. The total price of the acquisition was $87 million.
A spokesperson for the company did not respond to a request for comment from T&V.