Lincoln Park's long-awaited and controversial Children's Memorial Hospital redevelopment looks ready for some meaningful movement as developer Dan McCaffery and Houston-based Hines Interests have officially acquired the former hospital that has sat vacant since 2012. News of McCaffery's plan to purchase the 6-acre site was reported back in 2011 but action on the project was slowed due to years of community meetings and negotiations which resulted in several redesigns with reductions in both height and density. Once vetted by the requisite city approval bodies, the planned development was further delayed by a lawsuit filed by the the Mid North and Park West neighborhood organizations. While news of McCaffery's acquisition of the property was basically inevitable following the recent dismissal of the aforementioned lawsuit and subsequent appeal, the announcement of a foreign investor getting involved in the project was a surprise.
According to a report by Crain's, the Children's Memorial Redevelopment will see equity investment from Henley Holding, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Chicago's real estate market enjoyed record levels of foreign investment in 2015 and, if Children's Memorial site is any indication, the city will continue to be an attractive option for overseas investors seeking a return on their money.
Based on information on the Hines website the new development will be named The Lincoln Common. Penned by architects Antunovich Associates and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, it will include 540 rental units across a pair of 19-story towers and up to 60 lowrise condo units. The plan will also feature 160,000 square feet of retail, a senior housing facility, underground loading dock, outdoor plaza and one acre of new open space. A TOD in name only, the hospital's massive 1,044-stall parking garage will remain in place though it will now be fronted by new street level commercial space. The Lincoln Common project will see the destruction of the dilapidated highrise hospital main tower, but efforts will be made to preserve and reuse the site's more attractive vintage buildings including the brick and terra-cotta corner structures. Demolition is set to begin within the next six weeks with construction estimated to last two years before the project is ready for resident occupancy in late 2018. Lincoln Parkers can expect the busy intersection of Fullerton, Halsted, and Lincoln to get even more crowded with The Lincoln Common moving forward plus the concurrent demolition of DePaul University's nearby McGaw Hall ahead of construction work on the college's new school of music.
·Site Purchase Completed for the Redevelopment of the Former Children's Memorial Hospital Site in Chicago's Lincoln Park [McCaffery/Hines]
·Former Children's Memorial Hospital site set to be demolished within 6 weeks [Tribune]
·Children's Memorial developers score Abu Dhabi investment [Crain's]
·Previous Children's Memorial Hospital coverage [Curbed Chicago]