IllinoisHospitality Transformation of historic Cook County Hospital into destination hotel forges ahead Matt Baker June 5, 2020 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share via email Sitting vacant for nearly 20 years, one of Chicago’s high-profile yet forgotten gems is about to find new life. The adaptive reuse of the historic Cook County Hospital main building into a Hyatt Place and Hyatt House Chicago Medical/University District is set to open on July 1st. The first combined Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotels located in Chicago, this transformation will breathe new life into the Beaux-Arts landmark located at 1835 W. Harrison Street on Chicago’s Near West Side. The $150 million, multi-phase plan is spearheaded by Murphy Development and SOM, in a design-build collaboration with Walsh Construction, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., and KOO. Upon opening, the hotels will be operated by Aimbridge Hospitality. “We are excited to introduce the first combined Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotels to the Chicago area, while also paying homage to such an incredible landmark” said general manager Nilesh Pandey. This 342,000-square-foot project will feature over 4,000 square feet of meeting space, open concept public spaces, a 24-hour fitness center, a food hall, medical offices and a museum paying tribute to the hospital’s legacy. Designed by Paul Gerhardt in 1914, both the exterior and interior of Cook County Hospital’s main building suffered severe deterioration due to deferred maintenance and exposure to the elements once it closed down. The joint venture has been renovating the property since summer of 2018 and had the poor timing to unveil the new hospital even as the COVID-19 pandemic has travel and related sectors. “Unfortunately, the hospitality, tourism and event industry has been really hard hit, as we all know,” said David Whitaker, president and CEO of Choose Chicago. “But the exciting thing is, we are actually going to be a vehicle for recovery [with] the jobs that are generated and the taxes that are generated.” Listed as both a Chicago landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places, the interior of the building was completely gutted except for old surgical theaters on the eighth floor. Restoration work has restored and preserved numerous architectural details including terracotta ornamentation, wood-framed windows, interior decorative plaster work, the double height main lobby and 106-year old restored marble stone staircase, elevator cores, as well as the double-loaded corridor and terrazzo flooring of the interior. The team also spent over $18 million to replace all windows and 4,160 terra cotta pieces on the exterior, made of granite, brick and limestone. The site will also be home to Dr. Murphy’s Food Hall, helmed by Hospitality HQ. The only destination of its kind in the area, the food hall will provide dining opportunities to those visiting and working in the largest urban concentration of healthcare institutions, biotechnology hubs and technology-based incubators in the country. The 10,000-square-foot, eight-station food hall is named in recognition of Dr. John B. Murphy—one of America’s pioneering surgeons through the turn of the last century who studied, interned and taught at Cook County Hospital.