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Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s New Building Gets A New Name

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Now in the late stages of construction, the new hospital will be named the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

Work is wrapping up on the new home for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), soon to be central Streeterville’s newest medical building. The project which has gone by the name 'Ability Institute of RIC' has since been rebranded to the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, in recognition of Patrick and Shirley Ryan who pledged a record level donation to the organization developing the new research hospital.

The building was designed by Gensler and HDR features a blue glass curtain wall enclosing the cube shaped structure spanning the block between Erie and Ontario Streets. The main entrance is aligned to Erie Street and located below a series of folds in the northern facade, breaking up the otherwise flat and sleek exterior.

While an open-air parking garage did already exist next to the project's site, the new hospital does feature its own internal garage, largely contained within the cubic building footprint as well as a bump out to the lot line on along the Ontario Street frontage.

The building footprint features a small setback area at the corner of Ontario Street and McClurg Court where a landscaped driveway is located. The driveway then pulls through the ground floor of the building, separated from the sidewalk along McClurg by a series of large columns and landscape planters.

Construction barricades are expected to be removed starting in July, opening the surrounding sidewalks to pedestrians while interior buildouts continue to for the new facility to open in early winter. A ground floor retail lease has also since been signed for an Argo Tea Cafe for which interior finishing work as also begun.

RIC had acquired the property for the new building by engaging in a land swap deal with Golub who was planning a twin apartment tower development. The swap gave Golub an RIC employee parking lot located at McClurg Court and Grand Avenue where the 45 story, 490 unit apartment tower named Moment is now also in the later stages of construction.

The property is also the location of an old stable building that later served as the location for the television station of Chicago's CBS affiliate before they moved to a street level studio space at Block 37. Within this long gone studio, the first televised presidential debate was held on September 26, 1960 between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

The new building will house the entire operation of RIC who will move from their existing building one block to the north, another glass box, but one of an international style aesthetic. Designed by a collaboration of Loebl, Schlossman & Hackel with CF Murphy & Associates, the current home sits on a ground lease with Northwestern University who will assume control of the building once vacated.

Previous RIC coverage [Curbed Chicago]

Here's the Latest Streeterville Tower Construction Round-Up [Curbed Chicago]

Streeterville's One Bennett Park Digs In While Moment Tower Wraps Up [Curbed Chicago]