CHICAGO (CBS) — Developers have revised plans for the site of the shuttered Lincoln Park Hospital, but some neighbors are still speaking out against it.
On Monday night, a crowd packed the auditorium at Lincoln Park High School, 2001 N. Orchard St., for a community meeting hosted by outgoing Ald. Vi Daley (43rd). Representatives of the Sandz Development Company discussed recent changes that have been presented to the Chicago Plan Commission for the new development, called Webster Square
As project architect John Lahey explained, the changes include a six-foot setback in the two new floors that would be built on top of an existing hospital building for a new 120-unit condo tower. Also, the Flats, a new residential building planned for the site, are to be reduced in height from 55 feet to 47 feet, Lahey said.
Another change involves the loading for the planned Fresh Market grocery store, which would occupy the existing parking garage across the street from the hospital. Delivery trucks would no longer back in from the two-lane Webster Avenue under the revised plan, Lahey said.
The Web site for Webster Square says condos in the former hospital building will start at $475,000, while those in the new Flats building will start at $650,000. The project also calls six floors of medical offices in an existing hospital building.
The Plan Commission has approved the development. But it has drawn opposition from the beginning, and the revisions were not enough to stop some neighbors’ complaints.
David Chernoff, planning chairman for the Mid-North Association, took issue with the volume of traffic from the new grocery store.
“There would be approximately 1,200 shoppers a day in the new supermarket,” Chernoff said. “If only a third of them drove, that would be… roughly 3,000 cars a week coming into our neighborhood. That would not just be on Lincoln Avenue, Fullerton Avenue, but they’d be driving through the neighborhood – Webster, Grant, Geneva, Cleveland – plus the large trucks making deliveries.”
Further, Chernoff added, the Fresh Market store would prepare hot foods for takeaway and bake bread, which would result in odors wafting through the neighborhood.
He also said building two new floors on top of an existing hospital building for the new condo tower violates a 1972 community agreement that prohibits increasing the floor area of any individual existing building.
But another neighborhood group, the Lincoln Central Association, had a different point of view.
“We think that with the buildings, and with the renovations, and with the developer we have on board here, that we will have a wonderful asset for Lincoln Central, for Mid-North, for the whole 43rd Ward, and for the entire City of Chicago, and we wholeheartedly support it,” said Lincoln Central director Richard Harris.
Ald. Daley is retiring after this term, and two candidates – Michele Smith and Tim Egan – will vie for her seat in an April 5 runoff election. Smith has previously come out strongly against the Webster Square development.
Lincoln Park Hospital, formerly Grant Hospital, closed in October 2008 when its owners couldn’t find a buyer.
The Webster Square plan next goes to the Zoning Committee.