Michael Reese Hospital site redevelopment in Bronzeville breaks ground after years of delays

Evelyn Holmes Image
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Redevelopment of old Michael Reese Hospital site finally underway
The old Michael Reese Hospital site will be repurposed into a mixed-use development where people can live, shop and work.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The third time appears to be the charm as a multi-billion dollar redevelopment of the old Michael Reese Hospital site got underway Wednesday after years of delays and failed attempts.

City leaders and others officially launched the $3.8 billion Bronzeville Lakefront Development project Wednesday morning.

It's an endeavor to repurpose land on the Near South Side where the former Michael Reese Hospital used to be into a mixed-use development where people can live, shop and work.

"I'm just really excited and happy that this project is finally breaking ground," Bronzeville resident John Adams said.

GRIT, a group of local developers, bought the 48-acre, city-owned site for 7 million square feet of commercial, retail, and residential properties along with technology and research facilities.

"It's a vibrant, dynamic community," said Regina Stilp, a GRIT member. "People come from different communities because they want to be in that neighborhood."

Phase one of the redevelopment looks to transform the area. Along with affordable and senior housing, there'll be construction of the Bronzeville Innovation Center, a 31st Street park and renovation of the Singer Pavillion, the only original building left from the old hospital. The project will make history, as it is being led by mostly Black developers.

"With an eye toward equity and inclusion and bringing around and bring along with us members of the community," McLaurin Development Partners CEO Zeb McLaurin said.

The project is expected to create around 10,000 new, full-time jobs in the neighborhood and another 9,000 construction jobs, too.

The city of Chicago threw in $60 million in infrastructure spending to help redevelop the area. That's concerning to some who want a community benefits agreement put in place.

"These big projects happen and city resources are being used, state resources, federal resources and the community is not included," said Mark Cater, with Black Contractors United.

The development will be built in phases and is expected to be completed by 2035.