Chicago’s once-formidable Michael Reese Hospital, like the greater Bronzeville area, has been maligned by decades of governmental and private sector neglect. The complex was slowly abandoned in the late 20th century and ultimately purchased by the city government in 2009, who subsequently razed all of the buildings within the site. After several false starts, including a proposed Olympic Village for Chicago’s failed 2016 bid and a potential location for the Barack Obama Presidential Library, the former hospital complex has now been approved by the Chicago City Council for a massive $3.8 billion redevelopment designed by SOM.
The redevelopment project, dubbed the Bronzeville Lakefront, is set to be led by Farpoint Development. In total it will encompass close to 8 million square feet of mixed-use space consisting of nearly 5,000 residential units and 15 million square feet total of office and retail space. As reported by The Real Deal, the approximately 50-acre site will be sold to the developer by the City of Chicago for just under $100 million, while the city will chip in $60 million for street repairs and a new two-acre public park. Notably, Israel’s renowned Sheba Medical Center will construct a 500,000-square-foot laboratory and office facility called the ARC Innovation Center within the campus, its first in the United States.
The project is split into two phases: the $500 million first phase is expected to break ground later this year, and it will likely encompass the construction of the ARC Innovation Center, senior housing, park space, retail, and infrastructural improvements to the site. The $3 billion second phase is planned to kick off in 2025 and will fill out the remainder of the development with a mix of office, retail, and residential buildings. The city is also eyeing the adjacent Marshalling Yard, a 28-acre trucking facility, for a similarly scaled redevelopment.
Bronzeville Lakefront will join a spate of other megadevelopments across Chicago that are fundamentally reshaping the city. On the North Side, the similarly SOM-designed Lincoln Yards will see over 50 acres of formerly industrial property transformed into a high-density mixed-use district, and on Goose Island, closer to the city center, developer Onni Group is slated to build 2.7 million square feet of new development spread across eight riverfront acres. At the municipal level, the city of Chicago recently issued the first RFPs for the ambitious INVEST South/West initiative.