Cook County Hospital Rehab Planned

A redevelopment plan for Old Cook County Hospital was approved in May 2016 by the Cook County Board, which will allow MB Real Estate Services to invest $600 million in the historic building and reuse it for hotel, apartments and retail. The developer will pay $2 million in annual rent to the county under a 99-year lease and make use of federal historic tax credits to help finance the rehabilitation.

Landmarks Illinois first placed the historic hospital on our statewide Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois list in 2001, as well as in three additional years. Landmarks Illinois produced a reuse study in 2003 and met with every member of the Cook County Board to highlight the economic development potential and cultural importance of this landmark building. In 2006, Landmarks Illinois participated in a press conference with then Cook County Board Commissioners Mike Quigley and Forrest Claypool announcing the listing of the hospital to the National Register of Historic Places, which enabled the use of Federal Historic Tax Credits by a developer for its redevelopment.

Over multiple years, Landmarks Illinois testified before the Cook County Board and its finance and construction committees to stave off any new effort toward demolition. In 2014, Landmarks Illinois prepared another reuse plan and financial pro-forma as part of a Cook County-sponsored charrette with the pro bono help of 17 Landmarks Illinois board members. Landmarks Illinois staff met with President Preckwinkle and county consultants on several occasions to give guidance on financial incentives and to walk through the building with Illinois Historic Preservation Agency staff and engineers.

After such an extensive effort, Landmarks Illinois thanks President Preckwinkle for her support of this important landmark that will finally be resuscitated with a new life. The development agreement goes before the Cook County Board for approval next week.

Further Reading

Photo: Old Cook County Hospital, Chicago (credit: Lisa DiChiera)

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