The shuttered Cook County Hospital building will be getting another chance at life according to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Once the flagship of the Cook County Hospital system, the Beaux-Arts building, at nearly the size of five football fields, has been closed for over ten years. Preckwinkle wants to get a timetable and a developer lined up for the decaying 100 year old building by this summer so that it can be renovated.
Previous ideas for what to do with the behemoth have included turning it into office space, which was considered better than using it for a hotel, senior housing or condominiums. This round might come up differently, as the demand for office space has shifted. In 2006 Representative Mike Quigley made a move to add the building to the National Register of Historic Places as a protective measure from any demolition plans. The building might also be remembered by film buffs as the setting of the hospital scenes for the 1993 movie The Fugitive.
Preckwinkle proposed an overhaul of the building in 2011 to the tune of $126 million. So why didn't they start then? According to her staff, the renovation estimate was based on information provided by the previous administration and that no one had actually looked at the redevelopment comprehensively. Doh! No price tag has been provided yet, however a figure will surface by this autumn when Preckwinkle hopes to present the plan to the Cook County Board.
· Preckwinkle resurrects plans to redevelop shuttered Cook County Hospital [Crain's]
· A Reuse Plan for Cook County Hospital [Landmarks Preservation Council of IL]
· Preservation Watch: Cook County Hospital [Curbed Chicago]