The not-so-smooth redevelopment of Chicago’s vacant Edgewater Medical Center into 141 apartments, a 78-space parking garage, and a new Chicago Park District-operated park might finally be back on track, according to a recent email notice from 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O’Connor.
The primary reason behind the project’s nearly 10-month delay? A small handful of neighbors calling state and local agencies over environmental concerns that ultimately resulted in no violations, wrote the elected official:
This project has had the obvious setbacks and, in fact, it must be noted that the schedule has been delayed for almost 300 days due, in large part, to a couple of residents calling the IEPA and [the] city’s environmental departments alleging toxic or hazardous conditions.
While I encourage vigilance in these areas, it is worth noting that there have been no dangerous findings or citations, but the delays have put the project behind the schedule that was expected.
Indeed, the project from MCZ Development has had several issues from the start, noted Edgeville Buzz. After receiving its first permits in early 2017, demolition on the old medical complex at 5700 N. Ashland Avenue came to a halt a few months later due to the discovery of unexpected asbestos.
In addition to removing the hazardous material from the site, contractors were also required to remediate piles of rubble that contained electrical switches, thermostats, and other items unfit for landfill disposal, reported DNAinfo at the time.
Earlier this year, demolition was further delayed when crews had to relocate an underground ComEd power transformer. Combined with the aforementioned complaints from neighbors, it’s not surprising that the project overshot its goal of completing demolition by the summer 2018.
With work now underway once again, exterior demolition is expected to wrap-up by January 1, according to O’Connor’s latest email. MCZ then hopes to turn over the site’s .89-acre park to the Chicago Park District on January 31 and begin work on interior construction.
It’s still unclear when the Edgewater Medical Center redevelopment is expected to welcome its first tenant. Alderman O’Connor said he will continue to provide updates on the Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture-designed project as he receives information from both the developer and city officials.