clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Michael Reese site could get $100M data center, new school and greenhouse under latest plan

“Our belief and our overriding mission is to create a healthy community for the future,” a developer said.

Developers of the former Michael Reese Hospital site on the South Side shared new details on the “Bronzeville Lakefront” project on Oct. 14, 2020.
Developers of the former Michael Reese Hospital site on the South Side shared new details on the “Bronzeville Lakefront” project.
Screenshot from Michael Reese draft deck

Developers of the former Michael Reese Hospital site on the South Side shared new details on the Bronzeville Lakefront project that could include a new public school along with of a data center which is projected to cost an extra $100 million.

A more in-depth timeline and elaborate design for the estimated $3.6 billion multiphase redevelopment project was outlined Wednesday evening during a virtual town hall hosted by city planners and Ald. Sophia King (4th). The plan includes a new data center that could include an urban agricultural greenhouse and waste heat recovery space and a 10,000 to 40,000 square foot welcome center.

King also promised up to $25 million worth of educational aid, which could be put toward building a new school.

Scott Goodman, the founding partner of Chicago-based Farpoint Development which is in charge of the project, said each part of Bronzeville Lakefront was designed with the community in mind. He promised that the site will create jobs and opportunities for residents while honoring the neighborhood’s history.

“Our belief and our overriding mission is to create a healthy community for the future,” Goodman said.

That’s why they’re designing the buildings to compliment the neighborhood’s historic architectural style. Goodman and his associates also hope to beautify the parks and community centers with the works of local artists.

Phase 1 of the project, which is expected to break ground next fall, includes the development of the welcome center, a senior housing building, data center, Singer Pavilion and the 31st Street Park — one of three open space greenery areas on the nearly 52 city-owned acres of land. That part of the venture is projected to cost $600 million — 20% more than the initial bid, Goodman said.

The second part of the project will cost roughly $3 billion and include commercial office and retail space, residential housing, mixed-used buildings and park spaces.

In total, the project could take up to 20 years to complete.

Goodman argued the site will be worth the wait and projected that the direct and indirect economic impact of the space will be an estimated $8.2 billion.

As part of their commitment to the community, the developers have agreed that 65% of all businesses involved in the site must be minority-owned and 20% of the site’s residences will be affordable housing.

Chicago bought the site of the former Michael Reese Hospital after it closed in 2008 with the intention to make the property the home of the Olympic Village as part of the city’s unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Summer Games. Since then, the lot at 31st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue has been largely untouched.