A rendering of the planned new hospital from the southwest. The proposed new condominium tower and town houses is seen to its right. (Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

Earlier today the Landmarks Preservation Commission firmly rejected a proposal by St. Vincent’s Hospital to raze a number of its buildings in Greenwich Village and construct a new 329-foot-tall, $800 million hospital building. Under the terms of the deal, St. Vincent’s would sell eight buildings to the Rudin Management Company to finance the project; Rudin would in turn construct an $800 million housing complex consisting of new town houses, a midsize residential building, and a 265-foot-high luxury condominium tower on Seventh Avenue.

Not one of the ten Landmarks commissioners who spoke at a public hearing this morning were in favor of demolishing the buildings and replacing them with towers. According to the Times, Robert B. Tierney, the commission’s chairman, declared that “the idea of any demolition in a historic district is an enormous step. It is time for everyone to be taking a deep breath and doing some rethinking.

Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, called the hearing “a powerful, stinging rebuke to the St. Vincent’s plan. And it’s a forceful defense of the whole meaning of landmarks preservation.” But Henry J. Amoroso, president of St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, said in a statement that the hospital will file a new application as soon as possible claiming “hardship” status, arguing that unless the plans are approved, St. Vincent’s will face fiscal ruin.The Municipal Art Society notes that in the past 26 years, only one of seven "hardship" applications has been denied.