Officials break ground on multi-billion dollar development at site of former Michael Reese Hospital – NBC Chicago
On Wednesday, city officials and developers broke ground on a $3.8 billion mixed-use community project in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood.
The planned construction, expected to take place over the next decade, will bring mixed-income housing, retail, offices, parks and more to the site of the former Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center.
“What a legacy. What an incredible part of the fabric of Chicago that we can build on today,” said Scott Goodman, founding director of Farpoint Development.
Fairpoint is one of five developers in a group that forms Global Research Innovation Technology, or GRIT.
Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, McLaurin Development Partners, Loop Capital and Bronzeville Community Development Partnership are the other partners.
The redevelopment agreement, approved by city council, authorizes the sale of the city-owned 48-acre site to GRIT for $96.9 million, according to the city.
“It will be a gathering place for the community. We are looking to be a huge expansion of the already proud community of Bronzeville,” said Goodman.
The city purchased the inactive site in 2016 as part of its bid for the Olympics.
“When that plan didn’t materialize, there was a lot of concern about what would happen to this site,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
“After years of extensive study and strong community engagement efforts, today we can take the first important steps in announcing the release of the potential of this site.”
Upon completion, GRIT’s master plan was approved to include over 5,000 new residential units, 20% of which would be affordable units. The plan also includes a proposed rehabilitation of the Singer Pavilion, a new senior housing building, as well as new retail and office space, a data center and a 40,000 square foot community center, according to the city.
It is estimated that the project will create up to 20,000 temporary and permanent jobs, with a focus on equity.
“We have really ambitious goals for this project. It’s about 65% female and minority participation. This has never been done in the city before,” said Regina Stilp, founding director of Farpoint. . “We really wanted to figure out how to make sure the jobs were for people in the community.”
Another developer with GRIT, Zeb McLaurin, credited the mayor for focusing on disinvested communities.
“They challenged us as owners, developers, investors to participate in (his) vision and bring equitable change to the marketplace,” said McLaurin, CEO of McLaurin Development Partners.
GRIT says it is removing some of the traditional barriers to entry for small, local entrepreneurs and businesses by splitting project bids of $60 million into smaller bids of $3.5-4 million.
“The owners, the developers, (we) are assuming the financial risk and bonding the performance and payment guarantees for these vendors, so they can participate for the first time in this multi-billion dollar project.”
The plan is also supported by $60 million of city-funded infrastructure, which will in part restore a full road network throughout the site, including new and improved sections of 26th, 27th, 29th, and 30th Streets; Lake Park Avenue; and Cottage Grove Avenue.
The development will be executed in phases and is expected to be completed in 2035.