by Todd Feurer, CBS Chicago web producerBy CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) – The $3.8 billion plan to redevelop the long-vacant Michael Reese Hospital site in Bronzeville cleared another major hurdle on Monday, as aldermen signed off on a plan to spend $60 million in city infrastructure funding to help pave the way for the project.

The City Council Finance Committee on Monday approved the use of $60 million in existing capital funding to rebuild or improve existing streets and parks in the area as part of the project.

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The city purchased the site for $91 million in 2009, with aims of using it as part of an Olympic village as it bid for the 2016 Olympics, but it has sat unused ever since, after the city lost the summer games to Rio de Janeiro.

In 2017, former Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration chose GRIT,LLC – a team of developers consisting of Farpoint Development, Loop Capital Management, McLaurin Development Partners, Draper & Kramer, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and Bronzeville Community Development Partnership – to overhaul the site.

GRIT’s $3.8 billion “Bronzeville Lakefront” plan for the site would include nearly 6,800 units of new housing, and nearly 8 million square feet of mixed-use space – including office, retail, research, healthcare, and data center facilities, as well as park space.

Ald. Sophia King (4th) said the project also will include a welcoming center and digital museum, which will honor the history of the Bronzeville community.

“We’ll be able to have people come in locally and worldwide to see that,” she said. “There’s design guidelines throughout the entire development that will make sure that we pay homage to Bronzeville and the Michael Reese site.”

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The project requires two other committee votes on Tuesday – a zoning change to be considered by the Zoning Committee, and a $97 million land sale to GRIT to be considered by the Housing Committee. The full City Council will then take up all three measures on Wednesday.

The $600 million first phase of the project, expected to begin later this year, would involve construction of a new 500,000-square foot medical research site dubbed the ARC Innovation Center, which would feature both retail space and a community center; more than 300 units of senior housing, featuring solar panels, a rooftop deck, and retail and café space; and redevelopment of Singer Pavilion, the only remaining building from Reese Hospital.

The $3 billion second phase of the project would add additional medical research facilities, mixed-income housing, retail stores, office space, and park land that would be built over the next two decades. Construction on the second phase is expected to begin as early as 2023.

Since the developers are purchasing city-owned land for the project, at least 20% of the new housing they build must have reduced rents for people with lower incomes, or more than 1,300 affordable units.

Developers have said the project could create approximately $2 billion in property tax revenue over 20 years. It is also expected to create more than 2,800 temporary construction jobs and 1,200 permanent jobs.

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According to published reports, in addition to the $60 million in infrastructure costs the city is picking up, the city also is on the hook for $30 million in clean-up costs from a hazardous waste plant that was once on the site.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff