Word broke in late-July that Saint Anthony Ministries was going to re-center its core hospital services around the intersection of 31st and Kedzie, a bleak industrial corridor that nevertheless straddles some large, underserved communities. And now they've dragged out the renderings to bolster their plan. The move is basically due south from their current Little Village site at 19th and Sacramento. To be called the Focal Point campus, the hospital will be one tenant in a multi-faceted retail, office, and recreation complex. According to St. Anthony, the 11-acre development will include sports fields, a half Olympic-size swimming pool, a wellness center, and retail to fulfill basic neighborhood needs. The retail component, in particular, will help fund the all-access hospital and community medical programs, making it less dependent on government grants. And we can think of no other way to draw such a commercial concentration to the area. The projected cost is $400M and St. Anthony CEO Guy A. Medaglia tells The Gazette they're shooting for a 2016 opening.
When plans were first being forged a few years ago, the concept was for the rebuilding of the hospital with no 'campus' element. But, according to Medaglia: "I knew we could not sustain a new hospital in the inner city. We would have to develop a model that would provide services to the community and be self-sustaining." We won't argue with that. Medaglia goes on to say that the campus' individual features have all been vetted by the community. The top and bottom renderings are the work of local firm HDR Architecture, a specialist in hospital design. For all the PR bluster contained in the Focal Point literature, the new medical campus will end up serving roughly 400,000 working class Chicagoans while bringing a little more green space to a parched landscape.
·Official Site: Focal Point Chicago
·Saint Anthony Ministries spearheads innovative community development [Gazette]