Massive LICH building gone!

Massive LICH building gone!
And after: All gone!
Community News Group / Ruth Brown

It is a LICH-ectomy!

Workers have extracted a 12-story building from the old Long Island College Hospital site in Cobble Hill after months of noisy demolition — the first lot there to go under-the-knife as part of the sprawling redevelopment. The operation has cleared the path for a new five-story emergency room, and locals say they’re not looking forward to the next phase of construction.

“There is little sign of relief knowing that we have construction coming on that site and the one between it and the playground,” said Amy Breedlove, president of local civic group the Cobble Hill Association. “It will be a cacophony of noise.”

Workers have been chipping away at the building on Atlantic Avenue and Hicks Street for a year, but really levelled the place over the past few months, driving some neighbors nuts by starting in the early morning hours.

After complaints, the city agreed on Feb. 17 to stop issuing after-hours work permits — although by that point, most of the building was gone.

Developer Fortis Property Group is turning the old infirmary site into a massive residential complex, but had to agree to include another medical center there to secure the deal — and has to erect it before it can close on the rest of the block.

Locals fought unsuccessfully for years to save the old hospital, and many aren’t thrilled with the replacement — to be run by New York University Langone Medical Center — panning the new facility as a glorified urgent care.

Still, there is an upside to the now-empty lot while it lasts, Breedlove says — a nearby local playground is now flooded with sunshine it has not seen for decades.

“It is so nice to have the air and light especially from the Henry And Pacific street side,” she said. “The playground is enjoying warmth from the sun especially in the very popular after-school hours.”

It also means the pedestrian crossing on Pacific Street between Henry and Hicks is open again for the first time in a year, she said.

Fortis declined to comment on its plans for the center, but has previously said the new facility will open in late 2017 or early 2018.

The builder has been holding the blueprints the rest of the development close to its chest, but has already filed plans with the city for three towers, one of which is a 28-story tower on a lot shared with the new medical center.

A spokeswoman promised the company will have more news about the project in the coming weeks.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Before: The old Long Island College Hospital building at Atlantic Avenue and Hicks Street.
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