t’s been a hulking graffiti canvas for more than a decade, but a new plan could breathe life back into the old Cook County Hospital building.
The plan, which will be presented to the County Board’s Finance Committee on April 13, calls for the landmarked century-old structure to be rehabbed into office, residential and retail space.
Civic Health Development Group has been picked to redevelop the site, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Wednesday in a news release. That developer will invest $600 million and pay at least $2 million annual rent to the county, which will still own the land. The county won’t have to make any capital investment or offer any subsidy to the developer, according to the release.
The privately funded rehab project would be part of a larger multiyear plan that would provide a facelift to several acres of county land, while preserving the historic façade of the hospital.
Commissioner Robert Steele, in whose district the hospital is located, is excited about “seeing the old historic façade of the 1914 hospital building come alive again” according to the release.
“This project creates and fosters true urban transformation in the heart of our County,” Preckwinkle was quoted as saying in the press release. “New residential, retail, office and hotel construction will create a vibrant mixed-use community.”
The hotel would be built on what is now a large grassy field in front of the old hospital, Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri said Tuesday night when word of the project first was revealed.
“If there’s truly no impact on public funds, that’s great. It’s hard not to support something like that,” said Silvestri, adding that he’ll make up his mind after hearing financing details.
Work on the old hospital building could begin as soon as next year and conclude in 2018, Silvestri said.
“I think that this a great step forward in the redevelopment of that building which is of great historical significance,” Commissioner Larry Suffredin said Tuesday.
Plans also call for the construction of a nine-story Central Campus Health Center. It will adjoin Stroger Hospital and provide outpatient care as well as administrative offices. It will have a construction pricetag of $108.5 million with additional $10 million will go toward other expenses, such as consulting and legal fees.
The project is projected to create over 2,000 temporary and permanent jobs, with a “focus on hiring within the community” according to the press release.
Construction is expected to begin early next year and last into 2018.
The building will consolidate under one roof work that has been spread across three county buildings — one of which, Fantus Clinic, will be torn down.
The board will vote on the proposal for the project at its meeting on May 11.
Contributing: Alice Keefe