Michael Reese Site Plan Heads to Commission

Plans to transform the former site of Michael Reese Hospital into a bustling mixed-use medical hub go to the Chicago Plan Commission on Thursday (February 18, 2021). 

February 2021 Rendering of the ARC Innovation Center and Bronzeville Welcoming Center
February 2021 Rendering of the ARC Innovation Center and Bronzeville Welcoming Center

It’s been more than a decade since the Bronzeville hospital complex was torn down, and a number of plans have been floated for having it support everything from the Olympic games to casino games.  Now, the Plan Commission is going to consider an ambitious 71-acre project  that also incorporates the space that is now Prairie Shores.  It’s backed by Sheba Medical Center in Israel, and designed by SOM to heal the land with a medical research village.

February 2021 diagram of the Michael Reese Hospital replacement plan.

The project includes

  • Reconfiguring the current tangled street layout into something more grid-like
  • Adding a pedestrian bridge across Lake Shore Drive
  • Possibly moving the 27th Street Metra station up to 31st Street
  • New parks at 29th and 31st Streets
  • Include five acres of privately owned public open space
  • Create a “Bronzeville Welcoming Center”
February 2021 diagram of the Michael Reese Hospital replacement plan. Phase one is in fuschia.
February 2021 diagram of the Michael Reese Hospital replacement plan. Phase one is in fuschia.

Because this is going to be a very long project, the details have only been worked out for the first phase, which is expected to run from this year until 2026.

  • Renovation of the existing Singer Pavilion
    • 30 parking spaces
    • Rooftop greenhouse
  • ARC Innovation Center/Bronzeville Welcoming Center building
    • Size: 503,821 square feet
      • Life sciences lab: 327,512 square feet
      • Community Welcoming Center space: 40,075 square feet
      • Retail space: 38,022 square feet
      • Parking: 20 underground spaces
  • Senior Housing
    • 300 residences
    • Convenience store
  • 31st Street Park
  • Stormwater treatment swale
February 2021 diagram of the Michael Reese Hospital replacement plan. Phase two is in orange.
February 2021 diagram of the Michael Reese Hospital replacement plan. Phase two is in orange.

The remainder of the project is still variable, but early designs include a dozen new buildings in phase two.

This is the second plan to put up a mega development right next to McCormick Place.  The other one is Landmark Development’s One Central.  If they’re both approved, they would effectively bookend the convention center with construction cranes for the next couple of decades.

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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