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Michael Reese Hospital Site Developer Choice Delayed By City

By Sam Cholke | April 6, 2017 10:49am | Updated on April 7, 2017 11:37am
 The city is delaying for a month a decision to pick a developer for the former Michael Reese Hospital site.
The city is delaying for a month a decision to pick a developer for the former Michael Reese Hospital site.
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Courtesy of Landmarks Illinois

DOUGLAS — A decision expected Thursday on who will develop the former Michael Reese Hospital site has been pushed off until May.

Pete Strazzabosco, a spokesman for the city's Department of Planning and Development, said Thursday the city wouldn’t pick a development team for the 114 acres, including McCormick Place’s truck marshaling yards, until at least May 5.

The city had been expected to pick a developer on Thursday for at least the 49 acres where the hospital once stood.

"The new date will provide additional time to assess the responses and proposed site improvements," Strazzabosco said.

The city bought the property for $91 million in 2009 hoping to use it for athlete housing before the city failed to win its bid for the 2016 Olympics.

The city has declined to release the number of teams bidding on the site, but about four teams are trying to win the deal to develop the property, and at least one broke protocol and went public with its plan.

In February, Imagine Development released portions of its plan for the site, which included a little bit of everything, from academic use to entertainment, housing and shopping.

The site is mostly cleared, though developers have been encouraged by the city to include a nearby McDonald's and Advocate Medical Center building in their plans.

The one remaining building from the old Michael Reese Hospital, the Singer Pavilion, at 2929 S. Ellis Ave., was listed among Landmarks Illinois’ “Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois” on Thursday.

“We urge the city to continue its push for inclusion and reuse of Singer Pavilion in any redevelopment plan, as the last remaining building of what once was an exceptional example of institutional buildings designed with Walter Gropius’ oversight,” the group said in its announcement of this year’s list.

“Given Singer’s proximity to the Mies van der Rohe-designed IIT campus, together, they could heighten the potential of the South Side as a destination of great modern architecture for visitors.”

The city originally promised to save the historic main building, but it was so damaged by trespassers who broke in to strip out the copper wiring and other valuable materials that it was eventually torn down.