There has been significant progress made this week on two transformative developments for the southern lakefront in Chicago. The latest redevelopment plan for the former Michael Reese Hospital site in Bronzeville, which is anticipated to cost upwards of $4 billion and create thousands of new jobs, has moved forward after the Chicago City Council approved the sale of the property to developers and a big zoning change to allow for the project. Additionally, the first three construction permits for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park were issued, finally making way for the project that was first announced five years ago.
After shuttering in 2009, sprawling 48-acre Michael Reese Hospital site was acquired by the city to be utilized as the olympic village for Chicago’s 2016 Olympics bid. Chicago was cut in the first round by the International Olympic Committee and the site has remained vacant since.
However, the development team, GRIT Chicago LLC, composed of a partnership between Farpoint Development, Draper & Kramer, Bronzeville Community Development Partnership, Loop Capital Management, McLaurin Development Partners and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI), along with master planner SOM, have been approved to move forward with the first phase of development which is expected to deliver 300 new mixed-income residences, Urbanize Chicago reports. Eventually, the redeveloped site will contain upwards of 4,800 total residences, 20% of which will be for affordable housing, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Work at the former Michael Reese site may begin as early as this autumn with infrastructure improvements and an expanded and relocated Metra station. The first building for the site will be the 500,000-square-foot Arc Innovation Center in which the Sheba Medical Center of Israel will occupy a quarter of.
After years of planning, litigation and revisions, the Obama Presidential Center is also now finally underway. The first three construction permits for the project were issued this past week, according to Chicago Cityscape. The construction will take place within Jackson Park and deliver a 235-foot-tall structure designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects at a total cost of $500 million.
The newly issued permits are for construction of the center’s “Forum” building, a two-story arterial structure which will feature an auditorium, audio/visual studios, meeting spaces and a restaurant. The space is intended to “serve as a place to welcome the local community” and not only bring people to the center, but provide space and amenities for the surrounding residents. Additionally, construction on the center’s library, which will become a branch of the Chicago Public Library system, and parking garage were permitted.
The long-delayed development, which had previously been the target of multiple legal actions intended to stop the construction of the center within Jackson Park. Originally planned to have been completed and opened this year, the center is expected to finally be open to the public by 2025.