UChicago Medicine awaiting approval to begin construction on $815 million South Side cancer hospital

The seven-story facility would be built along East 57th Street, across from the emergency division. Officials expect 200,000 yearly outpatient visits, 5,000 inpatient stays.

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A rendering of the proposed cancer center and hospital, which will be located at East 57th Street between South Maryland and Drexel Avenues.

A rendering of the proposed cancer center and hospital, which will be located at East 57th Street between South Maryland and Drexel Avenues. It’s slated to open in 2027.

UChicago Medicine

UChicago Medicine is ready to build an $815 million stand-alone hospital dedicated to cancer care on its Hyde Park campus after making changes to its original plans following months of community input.

The prominent South Side health system submitted an application to the state Health Facilities and Services Review Board this month and is awaiting approval to start construction on the 575,000-square-foot facility in the second half of this year, UChicago Medicine health system said. The hospital would begin accepting patients in 2027.

Health system officials said the new center will streamline the process for patients receiving care, consolidating services that are currently spread across at least five buildings on the Hyde Park campus.

“We have an opportunity to build a world-class facility for our patients and the community that propels UChicago Medicine to become the premier destination for comprehensive cancer care, where groundbreaking science and compassionate care meet to provide an unrivaled approach to conquering cancer,” said Tom Jackiewicz, president of UChicago Medicine health system. “We will focus on a full-service patient and family experience, offering a multidisciplinary approach, personalized therapies and clinical trials, as well as cancer prevention, screening and diagnosis, healthy lifestyle classes and more.”

When plans were first announced last year the facility had an estimated price tag of $633 million, but officials said the new figure includes patient-focused enhancements that reflect their needs. UChicago said it spent the last 10 months soliciting feedback on its original plans from the community.

The standalone seven-story facility would be built along East 57th Street, between South Maryland and South Drexel avenues and across from the adult emergency department. Officials envision around 200,000 outpatient visits and 5,000 inpatient admissions a year.

Health system officials said the South Side is in dire need of a facility with this level of medical care, as cancer is the second-leading cause of death among South Side residents, who die from the disease at rates nearly twice the national average.

Officials said the situation is expected to get worse. The incidence of cancer on the South Side is projected to increase 19% in the next five years, compared to 9.1% in the five collar counties surrounding Cook County.

The new plan includes a redesign of the ground-floor space that would serve as a community hub for cancer prevention, screening and diagnoses, private infusion bays and a dedicated breast center, officials said. The site will also include space for possible expansion as cancer-fighting technology continues to develop.

The facility will also feature 80 inpatient beds, including 64 medical-surgical beds and a 16-bed intensive care unit, infusion therapy with private rooms grouped by cancer type, cancer imaging suite, multidisciplinary breast center and dedicated clinical trial spaces.

It will also help free up space at its flagship hospital, the University of Chicago Medical Center. The medical center averages 90% capacity and is routinely full with acutely ill patients. As a result, the hospital is often unable to accept patient transfers from community hospitals because of a shortage of available beds.

“With our long history of achievements in cancer and the great benefit of being interconnected with the University of Chicago, our new cancer facility will provide fertile ground for high-impact research so that we can tackle cancer’s toughest challenges, dramatically shorten the drug-development timeline, deliver the care that the community needs, and save more lives,” said Mark Anderson, executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Chicago.

In addition to the medical care, health system officials said the project is expected to generate about 500 construction jobs, with area residents given priority for positions. And at least 41% of contract dollars will be awarded to minority-owned and woman-owned firms.

Contributing: WBEZ reporter Kristen Schorsch

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