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Israel’s Sheba Medical Center to anchor building at Michael Reese site

Development is seen as a hub for medical research and innovation.

A rendering of the proposed ARC Innovation Center at the former Michael Reese site.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Israel’s renowned Sheba Medical Center will be an anchor tenant in the first phase of development at the former Michael Reese Hospital site in Bronzeville, developers said Thursday.

Sheba will occupy up to 25% of a 500,000-square-foot medical research and innovation center, said Scott Goodman, partner at the Farpoint Development, part of a joint venture leading the Michael Reese work.

Goodman, who will ask the city for a zoning change to allow for the building, said he hopes to start construction in the fall of 2021 and be done 18 months later. He said he and his partners are in “advanced dialogue” with the city about the project and are confident of official support.

“Innovation at this site will put Chicago at the forefront of a burgeoning holistic health and wellness industry, contribute $1.8 billion to Chicago’s economy over 20 years and directly address local health challenges, including Chicago’s 30-year life expectancy gap,” Goodman said. He was referring to a study by the New York University School of Medicine that compared life expectancies in wealthy Streeterville with those in Englewood.

The building will be called the ARC Innovation Center—for Accelerate, Redesign, Collaboration—and be managed by Chicago-based Kaleidoscope Health Ventures. Sheba’s participation will draw other researchers and startups in medical-related areas such as data, artificial intelligence and precision surgery, said S. Bob Chib, managing partner at Kaleidoscope.

“Many in the global community consider Sheba to be the Mayo Clinic of the Mideast,” Chib said.

Goodman said the developers will commit to “aggressive” hiring and contracting standards for minorities, ensuring that Bronzeville will benefit from the investment and the medical advances it will yield. While the project can’t help with the current coronavirus scare, Goodman said the pandemic “certainly shines a spotlight on how important these kinds of services will be.”

“The ARC Innovation Center represents our U.S. epicenter and our first physical venture outside of the Middle East, and we are thrilled to have found the right partners in Chicago,” said Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, chief medical officer at Sheba. He cited the important roles of Chicago’s academic and research centers, as well as the healthcare start incubator known as Matter.

Chib said the idea for the venture started three years ago, when former Mayor Rahm Emanuel assembled a delegation that visited Israel. He said Matter emerged to help bring all parties together.

The developers’ announcement included a statement of support from the alderman whose ward covers the Reese property, Sophia King (4th). “This development will open career paths and bring a significant number of jobs to talented and hardworking residents and small businesses owners in our community,” she said.

The ARC Innovation Center will be on the southern end of the Reese site, near 31st Street and the Singer Pavilion, the only building from the Reese complex left standing.

Other firms involved in the development, which foresees housing and retail components, include Bronzeville Community Development Partnership, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, Draper & Kramer, Loop Capital and McLaurin Development.