Thursday, April 2, 2015

City Poised to Start Bidding Process for Former Michael Reese Hospital Land

The open land at the former Michael Reese Hospital (via Tribune)
It looks like the city is poised to sell off the former Michael Reese hospital land just south of McCormick Place (via Tribune):
Chicago officials are nearing completion on establishing a bidding process for companies interested in developing the vacant former Michael Reese Hospital site on the Near South Side, the outcome of which could ease millions in debt payments over the next decade, according to a City Hall source. 
The city bought the 49-acre site for $91 million as part of former Mayor Richard Daley's failed bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Unless the city finds a developer, taxpayers will owe that plus about $43 million in interest and development costs over the next decade — plus an additional $21 million borrowed to make the initial payments on the original loan, the Tribune reported in October.
This huge piece of land has been discussed for various big ticket dream projects since we learned Chicago wouldn't be getting the Olympics (such as the much ballyhooed downtown casino).  Most recently various groups have been lobbying for the controversial Lucas museum to shift to this land instead of the parking lot south of Soldier Field.

The lot has also been discussed as a potential spot for the Obama library, but all signs point to that being closer to the University of Chicago campus assuming Chicago wins that bid.

Anyway, should be interesting to see what comes of this process. In our opinion the land had an opportunity to be an additional resource to draw people to Motor Row and McCormick place.  The way it sounds like it's going, it will probably be converted into a mostly residential neighborhood with a smattering of retail (which might be more organic and maybe better than a big ticket civic institution).

The saga continues...

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