An eighteen month controversy over reuse of the former Columbus Hospital site on the City's North Side ended last week with unanimous approval by the Chicago Plan Commission.
The Oct. 17, 2002 meeting of the Chicago Plan Commission marked the end of a long and controversial redevelopment approval process
for the now-shuttered Columbus Hospital, located at 2550 N. Lakeview
Ave. in Chicago. Eighteen months ago, developer American Invsco began what
amounts to a typical redevelopment process in Chicago by proposing a
large development project on the site, in keeping with underlying zoning. This
sparked a flurry of outcry from neighborhood residents opposed to the scale
of the project.
Courtesy of Lucien Lagrange and Associates.
On March 4, 2002, the Metropolitan Planning Council’s
Urban Development Committee met with project developers and the alderman to
review the proposal. MPC submitted a letter
of support to Mayor Richard M. Daley for the following reasons: Even
at 382 units — a number that was subsequently scaled down after further
negotiations with community groups — the proposed project supported urban design
criteria for good development. The side
streets of the project are lined with 14 townhomes that create a
pedestrian-friendly atmosphere leading from the nearby commercial area of Clark
Street to the Lakefront. Adequate parking is provided at 1.75 spaces per
unit, with 50 spaces reserved for lease by residents of the community.
This will help alleviate parking congestion in the area. The heights of
the three towers are in keeping with adjacent existing residential structures.
The chairman of the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, Gilaad Matar, testified
in support of the project, especially the benefits an increased number of
shoppers the new residents would represent to the retail corridor: “We may
have traffic congestion in Lakeview but we also have traffic jams of strollers
on the sidewalks and that’s a good thing!”
The Plan Commission approved the project unanimously, and gave a
green light to the project, which has only a few minor steps in the approval process remaining.
A construction start date for the project is not yet determined but construction
is anticipated to take 24 to 36 months.
Stay tuned to MPC’s Web site as we continue to explore the effects of density
on quality and quantity of retail development, increased transit use and