Plan Commission approves MPC-supported Columbus Hospital project - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Plan Commission approves MPC-supported Columbus Hospital project

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 affordable housing.

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