St. Vincent's Hospital, the venerable West Village institution that's been around for more than 150 years, is considering a radical plan to address its financial woes and better serve patients. First reported in the Villager last month, and subject to much speculation elsewhere, it appears as if the hospital is going to sell off its buildings to the east of 7th Avenue and construct a new building where the O'Toole Building now stands.

The hospital, which has been in bankruptcy since 2005, plans to build a smaller, more efficient facility. The hospital facilities on the east side of 7th Ave between 11th and 12th streets are a hodgepodge of connected buildings. The layout of the buildings makes them much more expensive to maintain and update than a new building.

By selling off most of the property St. Vincent's could raise a lot of money --$250-300 million according to one real estate appraiser-- that could be used to put up a new building where their outpatient clinic now resides. The new building would be nearly triple the size of the O'Toole building, much larger than current zoning allows, and, this being the West Village, much opposition is bound to arise.

Photo from the inside of the O'Tolle building looking out by Warsze on Flickr