Starting next week, the City of Chicago will begin officially accepting redevelopment proposals for the 49-acre site once occupied by Bronzeville’s Michael Reese Hospital. Built in 1881 and razed in 2009, the property has been the focal point of several grandiose—and ultimately unrealized—plans.
The long-vacant parcel was purchased by the city to serve as the Olympic village as part of the Windy City’s unsuccessful bid for the 2016 games. The site was later in early discussion a possible location for the Obama Presidential Library. More recently, opponents of the lakefront location of Chicago’s proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art consistently offered Michael Reese as an alternative site for the now-defunct cultural institution.
The city’s plan to sell the land to private developers has been in the works for some time and coincides with Chicago’s currently booming real estate market. According to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the south side parcel offers a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to transform the south side neighborhood.
In addition to the plans to redevelop the Michael Reese site, the city says it will consider proposals that incorporate air rights above 28-acre semi-trailer marshalling yards to the immediate east. Other potential improvements such as the addition of a Metra Electric Line station, new parkland, and connections across Lake Shore Drive to the lakefront are also reportedly on the table.
The city will begin accepting bids one it issues its Request for Proposal (RFP) on Tuesday, October 11 and will accept proposals though February 22, 2017. A developer could be selected as early as spring of 2017.