CHICAGO (WLS) --The City of Chicago said it is ready to move ahead with plans to develop the long-vacant Michael Reese Hospital site.
The 49-acre site on South Ellis in the Bronzeville neighborhood has been unused since 2009.
For over a century, Michael Reese Hospital sat on a huge piece of lakefront property.
After financial problems shut the hospital down for good, the city bought it with the intention of building an Olympic village for Chicago's bid for the 2016 games. After that failed, the city was stuck with it.
"It's been an economic drain, an eye sore and a fiscal drain on the city," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Dormant for over a decade, Mayor Emanuel said the real estate market is ripe to finally develop the site.
For the winning developer, the city will add air rights over McCormick Place's truck yard just east of Michael Reese. While the mayor supports a casino, a mixed use development is more likely for the location.
"Some people are talking about it from educational to retail to commercial to residential. My goal, you're going to see this empty space that will have people living, working and producing there," said Emanuel.
The development will be a big boost for the Bronzeville neighborhood.
Mell Monroe owns a bed and breakfast, the Welcome Inn Manor. He favors any development that will bring more tourists to the South side. Monroe hopes the project will incorporate the areas cultural history of jazz and blues.
"So much of Chicago's history is tied up into this side of Chicago and anything that will bring positive energy and ideas and expression in South Chicago would be a huge plus for us," said Monroe.
However, it's going to be a long time before this land is developed. The city will begin taking proposals on October 12. The city's goal is to pick a developer by next spring.