Northwestern Medicine to build $100 million urgent care center in Bronzeville

It is expected to serve more than 50,000 patients in Bronzeville and nearby communities every year. About 1,000 construction and 100 health care jobs will be created by the development.

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A rendering of Northwestern Medicine’s urgent care center in Bronzeville on the 4800 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue.

A rendering of Northwestern Medicine’s urgent care center in Bronzeville on the 4800 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue.

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Northwestern Medicine plans to bring a new $100 million advanced outpatient care center to Bronzeville on Thursday that will be developed on a large stretch of vacant land on the 4800 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue.

The proposed 120,000-square-foot facility still needs to clear some regulatory hurdles but it eases fears of a health care desert some had when Mercy Hospital sold its operations in Bronzeville last year.

The urgent care center will be built on a combination of city-owned and privately-owned parcels. The purchases are still in process, a Northwestern Medicine spokesperson said.

“For more than 20 years, Northwestern Medicine has partnered with Bronzeville community organizations to enhance the health and wellness of residents. Every day more than 1,000 patients from Bronzeville and its surrounding communities receive care from Northwestern Medicine,” said Dean Harrison, CEO of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. “This new advanced outpatient care center will provide patients with access to world-class care without having to leave their community.”

Construction might begin as early as next year, and the center could open to the public in the summer of 2025.

The design of the building as well as some of the services being offered are a direct result of engaging community members, said Dr. Kimbra Bell Balark, who will be the center’s medical director.

“Our advanced outpatient [center] will reflect the culture of the neighborhood and will provide patients numerous offerings,” Bell Balark said during a news conference Thursday. “We believe this site will have a generational impact on health and wellness of this community.”

It is expected to serve more than 50,000 patients in Bronzeville and nearby communities every year. About 1,000 construction and 100 health care jobs will be created by the development.

Northwestern Medicine said it will actively look to hire from the community to “ensure that patients in Bronzeville will be treated by an inclusive workforce, including nurses and physicians, that mirrors the diversity in the community.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the addition of the urgent care center is another product of her Invest South/West neighborhood development initiative that aims to invest $1.4 billion of resources in 12 commercial corridors on the South and West sides.

“Equitable and convenient access to quality health care is necessary to creating thriving communities,” Lightfoot said. “I’m grateful to Northwestern Medicine for expanding their presence to the Bronzeville community, making an incredible difference in the lives of those residents.”

Lightfoot said Northwestern Medicine is not relying on any funding from the city to develop the urgent care center.

The 120,000-square-foot facility will offer an immediate care center; both primary and specialty care; pharmacy services; diagnostic services such as mammograms and lab tests; cancer treatment; other resources and programming for individuals; and opportunities for local retailers.

“Northwestern Medicine is a welcome addition to a cadre of new developments on the Cottage Grove corridor,” said local Ald. Sophia King (4th). “We are not just experiencing a renaissance, we are experiencing a community-led boom.”

Contributing:David Roeder

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