Cook County Hospital
A nine-year advocacy effort to
prevent the demolition of Old Cook County Hospital Building may have ended on
March 2nd, when the Cook County Board voted to support a rehabilitation proposal
to convert the long-vacant structure into medical offices.
Landmarks Illinois, in 2001, had
included the mammoth, two-block-long Beaux Arts-style building as one of its
“Ten Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois.” The listing had been prompted
by the construction of a replacement hospital next to the historic building.
In 2003, with a demolition contract
being considered for the old hospital, LI presented an alternative reuse plan to
the County Board. Drafted with assistance from Board Member Joe Antunovich, that
plan—along with testimony from other preservation groups and local
developers—delayed a vote on the building’s demolition.
In Fall 2003, after promising to send a
Request for Proposal to interested developers, Cook County officials instead
invited bids to demolish the block-long Cook County Hospital, which had been
vacant since early 2003. The demolition estimates range from $9.7 to $13.6
million, not including asbestos removal.
Based on widespread public opposition
to the proposed demolition of the Old Cook County Hospital Building (1400 W.
Harrison, Chicago), the Cook County Board voted in late 2004 to delay issuance
of a demolition contract for the 1912 Beaux Arts-style structure. In February 2005, the board
authorized a $1.4 million consultant study to consider the long-term space needs
for the hospital campus. That report, which was issued in October 2005,
concluded that the historic structure was structurally sound and could be
readily adapted for medical office space, for which there was a clearly
However, the report concluded by
recommending that the former hospital should still be demolished and replaced
with a newly constructed office building.
Cook County Hospital Beaux Arts-Style Facade
(click for full-size images}
topic of Cook County Hospital has been on LPCI’s agenda for several years, since
shortly after the plans for the new Stroger Hospital were first announced. It
has been listed to our 2001,
2003 and 2004 Ten Most Endangered Historic
Places in Illinois and to our
2002 Chicagoland Watch List.
Cook County Hospital , Chicago
reuse plan, featuring design
solutions and construction estimates, was prepared by LPCI in April 2003 and was
widely distributed to public officials and developers.
Proposed Cook County Hospital 1st Floor Site Plan, Antunovich Associates