'Mega-development' for the Chicago's South Side gets official nod

Maggie Prosser, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Business News

The sale of the property will occur in phases over the next 14 years, starting with an anticipated $8.8 million payment by GRIT to the city. GRIT’s initial payment also will include $20 million for the option to buy the entire site in parcels as the development progresses.

The entire project could take 20 years to build, costing $7 billion and extending well past the former hospital campus’s 49-acre lot, ultimately covering more than 100 acres total, Goodman said. Singer Pavilion — the campus’s only remaining Reese building, built in 1948 — will be preserved as part of the development, according to the Department of Planning and Development.

The development’s infusion of industry, retail and housing is expected to generate $3.5 billion in direct economic impact, and create 31,000 full-time and 45,000 construction jobs.

Wednesday’s City Council approval included adding adjacent land from the Prairie Shores residential community into the planned development to allow for the extension of Cottage Grove and Vernon avenues.

The development team eventually wants to relocate the nearby 28-acre McCormick Place marshaling yards and buy that property from the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, Goodman said. The developers also could build over train tracks using air rights to further expand the site.


Built in 1881 and named for the wealthy San Francisco entrepreneur who funded the hospital before his death in 1878, the Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center closed in 2008, and the city leveled the campus in 2009.

The property was at the center of former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Daley purchased the bulldozed property for $2 million per acre in 2009 in hopes of building an Olympic Village for the 2016 games.

In 2015, then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel opened it up to bids and refinanced the property’s debt in 2017. That same year, the city entered the lot into consideration for Amazon’s HQ2, which is now slated for Arlington, Virginia.

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