New Meals on Wheels Complex Approved after Revisions

Architect rendering of the proposed facility. Image credit: Rampulla Associates

Architect rendering of the proposed facility. Image credit: Rampulla Associates

Revisions to site plan made for more green spaces, while the buildings’ materials and design would better relate to the historic district. On October 20, 2015, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a plan to develop a new facility housing Meals on Wheels operations at 460 Brielle Avenue in Staten Island’s New York Farm Colony-Seaview Hospital Historic District. The site, currently empty, lies in the Seaview Hospital portion of the district. The Health and Hospital Corporation still utilizes some properties in the district, but others are vacant and have fallen into disrepair. Proposals have been made to redevelop the area as a “wellness center.”

When Landmarks initially considered a proposal for the site’s development on July 7, 2015, Meals on Wheels President Joseph Tornello stated that the new facility would allow them to service a growing aging population, prepare kosher and halal meals on-site, and have dedicated loading space for both volunteer drivers and delivery trucks. The design was presented by Philip and Leonard Rampulla of Rampulla Associates, who explained that the plan was built around the kitchen and circulation needs of delivery vehicles. The main building, clad in terra cotta, would have an unadorned facade with oversized windows, and an arched porte-cochere that would protect volunteer drivers as they picked up their deliveries. The project would also entail the construction of a storage and vehicle-maintenance building.

Commissioners criticized the design as resembling a corporate office park, and asked the applicants to revise the proposal to better integrate with the historic district.

When the applicants returned to Landmarks in October, they had reconfigured the site plan for the facility to have an additional 6,500 square feet of green space. One of the exit driveways proposed in the original plan was eliminated, an entry way was narrowed, and island of plantings were enlarged. A parking area would now be surfaced with cobblestones, rather than asphalt. The canopy protecting delivery cars would be simplified, and no longer arched. The main building would be clad in red brick and limestone, and now would feature double hung windows. The maintenance building would be clad with the same materials.

Commissioner John Gustafsson praised the revised plan as “substantially better” than the initial proposal, and responsive to commissioner comments. Commissioner Diana Chapin also found the revised proposal superior in its materials, fenestration, and landscaping. Chair Meenaksi Srinivasan commended the applicant for making “massive improvements” to the proposed facility, and determined that its design and materials now made it appropriate for “broader context of the historic district.”

Commissioners unanimously voted to issue a binding report affirming the plan.

LPC: 460 Brielle Ave., Staten Island (15-0096) (Oct. 20, 2015) (Architects: Rampulla Associates).

By: Jesse Denno (Jesse is a full-time staff writer at the Center for NYC Law)

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