Left For Dead, Cook County Hospital Resuscitated by Hyatt

Some buildings become neglected. Some become abandoned. And then there’s the former Cook County Hospital, which was neglected, kicked out of the house, mugged, drugged, dumped in an alley, had its shoes stolen, and left for dead behind a Dumpster. But at least it wasn’t torn down.

The former Cook County Hospital (March 2009)
The former Cook County Hospital in March, 2009

It’s that last fact which allows us to tell you that you can now spend the night in the 1914 hospital without being a homeless person, a security guard, or a ghost.

Hyatt, the local global hospitality giant, has opened two new hotels inside the formerly derelict 106-year-old building: The Hyatt House Chicago Medical/University District, and Hyatt Place Chicago Medical/University District. Both apparently named by the same guy who thinks “MDRZX770BN” is a good name for a pair of headphones.

Harrison Square, the former Cook County Hospital, in June 2020 (Courtesy of YoChicago!)
Harrison Square, the former Cook County Hospital, in June 2020 (Courtesy of YoChicago!)

The two hotels are part of a billion-dollar multi-phase project to turn the once outstanding Habsburg yellow building into a full-on 13-acre mini-neighborhood called Harrison Square. In addition to the hotels, plans include 25,000 square feet retail space, hundreds of new homes, and even office and residential towers.

A new medical office building opened in 2018, but these hotels are the first results of redeveloping the actual hospital building, which was shuttered in 2002.

Rendering of Harrison Square with the former Cook County Hospital.
Rendering of Harrison Square with the former Cook County Hospital.

Location: 1835 West Harrison Street, Illinois Medical District

Editor

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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  1. In fact, most of the old Cook County Hospital was torn down. Only the architecturally interesting facade along Harrison Street was spared. Behind it, to the south, were four large seven floor wings that dated to the original building. Also razed was the three story building that housed the ER and trauma units on the ground floor; the big medical ICU, CCU, critical care medicine offices, the cardiology department (and my little office) above the ER; and the medical step down unit and TB/respiratory isolation beds on the third floor. Along Wood Street further south was the now-demolished Children’s Hospital building, with the Burn Unit up on the seventh floor — you could get into that building by walking outside, using a nasty seventh floor passageway through the main building’s operating suite, or using the much nastier basement passage. So when people say this is the old Cook County Hospital, they are c. one-sixth correct. The parts that were razed were ugly, falling to pieces, and a detriment to decent medicine by 1999.

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