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Explain Why Edgewater Hospital Contractor Wasn't Paid, Ald. Tells Developer

By Linze Rice | August 28, 2017 2:30pm
 The Edgewater Medical Center has been closed and vacant for 15 years.
The Edgewater Medical Center has been closed and vacant for 15 years.
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DNAinfo/Linze Rice

EDGEWATER — Ald. Pat O'Connor (40th) is asking a developer to explain why a major contractor involved in the demolition of the Edgewater Medical Center campus says it hasn't been paid.

O'Connor said in a statement posted on his website that he would be asking MCZ Developments to address allegations by asbestos removal contractor DDS Environmental that it had not been paid for months of work. Emails obtained by DNAinfo between contractors and MCZ show some work had stalled on the project in part because workers say developers owe them money. 


The abandoned hospital site is slated for redevelopment into 141 apartments, 78 parking spaces and a park operated by the Chicago Park District. 

DDS told DNAinfo that it is owed $300,000.

On Friday, O'Connor reiterated that "it was represented to my office on many occasions by MCZ that they were not behind in payments."

"I have asked MCZ to provide my office with an official statement regarding the non-payment. As soon as we have that statement, we will post it," the alderman said. 

O'Connor said in addition, he would ask MCZ "to explain how they will work to actually move this project forward."

"City personnel (including my own staff) have spent countless hours working toward transforming this site," he said. "We are hopeful that MCZ will complete the work that they have started."

MCZ officials have not responded to requests for comment.

O'Connor also posted an updated timeline for construction at the site.

O'Connor and Todd Mullen, who is overseeing the project for MCZ, along with environmental contractors and two other city officials, met with residents earlier this month at a community meeting to discuss the delayed project. Residents asked then for an updated and detailed timeline of construction at the 5700 N. Ashland Ave. property. 

The new schedule highlights the redevelopment road ahead: clearing and hauling debris, electrical and asbestos remediation, environmental testing, water pumping, city and state approvals, demolition and more.

That works includes contractor Alessio and Sons removing electrical and Mercury-containing debris and pumping water from the basements, as well as asbestos remediation by DDS in buildings facing Hollywood and Ashland avenues.

Prior to demolition, the site will be scanned and tested by EPS Environmental and both the city and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency must sign-off on test results and inspections, according to the update. 

Both the city and Park District are requiring MCZ to obtain a letter from the state's environmental agency to prove no further remediation is necessary — a "paperwork process" that takes about six months, the timeline states.

Once given the green light to raze, Ground Crew will continue demolition work, including tearing down the hospital buildings which will become a park, internally demolishing Ashland buildings for redevelopment, and breaking apart basement slabs to ready the ground for park building. 

Previously officials said they hoped to have the building demolished by the end of the year.

Read more about the schedule here.