Reporting Bob Roberts
Don't Miss This
UPDATED 08/16/12 6:22 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Following a series of community meetings and input from area residents, Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) has rejected redevelopment plans for the former Children’s Memorial Hospital site in Lincoln Park.
Smith wrote Wednesday in an e-mailed statement that the 145-, 250-, and 290-foot towers McCaffery Interests wants to build are simply “too dense” and would aggravate existing overcrowding at neighborhood schools.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports
The 1,000-unit development plan called for more than an acre of open space. Smith calls for “significant modifications” to the plan that make “a real reduction in density.”
Nonetheless, she wrote, she wants the six-acre site to become a “neighborhood crossroads” that area residents can “walk to, walk through and enjoy.”
She wrote that she has instructed McCaffery principals to keep working with the community and her office to move the process forward.
Several historic hospital buildings would have been retained under the plan, including the Wilson-Jones Building at Fullerton Avenue and Orchard Street, the Annex Building on the southeast corner of Lincoln and Fullerton, the boiler house and laundry next door, and the former White Elephant resale shop building across the street.
The plan also called for creating open space that is intended to become the center of the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The sketches for the project show a central square with a fountain in front of the historic hospital buildings, with two of the soaring glass and steel high-rises on either side.
A third high-rise would have been located across Lincoln Avenue.
The mixed-use project would include almost 700 market-rate residential units, along with 140 senior housing units and 130 more affordable housing units. Also in the plan are 85,000 square feet of retail, and a new fitness club on Fullerton Avenue.
Children’s Memorial Hospital moved from the site in July. McCaffery won re-development rights following a competition with eight other developers.
WBBM Newsradio is attempting to contact McCaffery representatives for a response.