$140M renovation to transform old Cook County Hospital into hotel, office complex nearly complete

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After staying vacant for nearly two decades, the old Cook County Hospital is now becoming a hotel and medical office complex.

Developers say the renovation of the century-old building is set to bring new life to the Illinois Medical District and Chicago's West Side, even in the age of COVID-19.

Workers are putting on the finishing touches inside of the massive historic old Cook County Hospital. CEO and Chairman of Murphy Development Group, John Murphy, said it once housed 4,500 hospital beds and was at one time one of the largest hospitals in the world.

"The building is approximately 550 feet long and only 80 feet wide, so it's like a 50 story building on its side," said Murphy, who heads the redevelopment.

Now, the hospital has been renovated into two Hyatt Hotels, medical office space, and first floor retail for the Illinois Medical District on the West Side.

"Approximately 55,000 people a day visit here, and it's one of the most robust medical districts in the world," Murphy said.

The first floor is set to house the hotel lobby, a day care and an eight-station food hall.

"It's really an amenity for the community," he said.

The building was shuttered in 2002, and stayed vacant for nearly 20 years. Over the past three years, the dilapidated building has been transformed into medical training spaces and now hotel rooms.
There are still two teaching medical theaters where the greatest minds would come to learn. They are on the eighth floor in the building eventually to be restored and added as part of a tour on the history.

But the most drastic change remains the north facade. It goes from dark and worn in 2002, to a historically accurate restoration of its former glory, with white Ionic columns gleaming.

Artisans had to replace more than 4,400 pieces of terracotta on the front facade.

Total cost for this phase? $140 million dollars.

"I think that they've done a phenomenal job. And it's ready for its next 100 years," Murphy said.

He hopes to have the grand opening on July 1st.

"We're not sure what the world is going to look like at that point because it's evolving and changing daily, but we're going to put our best foot forward," Murphy said.
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