St. Anthony Hospital campus in Little Village gets zoning go-ahead

A City Council committee backs the hospital’s move to a 29-acre parcel slated to get other medical and community services.

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Una visualización del desarrollo planificado del Hospital St. Anthony en 3201 W. 31st St. | Cortesía

A rendering of the planned St. Anthony Hospital development at 3201 W. 31st St., showing a view from the northeast.

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In a milestone for a project more than a decade in the making, St. Anthony Hospital will relocate to a 29-acre campus in Little Village under zoning rules a City Council committee endorsed Tuesday.

The new hospital would be built at 3201 W. 31st St., the former site of the Washburne Trade School, on a campus that would include a surgical center, office building, retailers, a vocational school and athletic fields.

The council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards unanimously endorsed the project, first aired during the administration of Mayor Richard M. Daley. It is expected to be brought before the full council Wednesday for final approval.

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St. Anthony would build a 12-story, 151-bed hospital. The number of beds is the same as at the existing hospital at 2875 W. 19th St. Guy Medaglia, St. Anthony president, said he is talking to operators interested in using that building for senior residences.

Medaglia told the Sun-Times he now estimates the project will cost $700 million, up from prior estimates of $600 million because of inflation. It would be funded from a mix of loans, donations and grants. He said he’s already put up $3 million to cover an environmental cleanup on old industrial parcels next to the Washburne property.

He declined to say how much has been raised thus far. Income from the development will be used to support community programs at the site, Medaglia said. Construction should start in 2023 and be done in 2026, he said.

Medaglia also is the president of Chicago Southwest Development Corp., a nonprofit leading the project. It’s marketed as Focal Point Community Campus, with a design by the firm HDR.

Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22nd) said the project allows the hospital to modernize while staying in the same general area. He said the development will bring in community services on property that’s now unused.

“I have received several hundred letters of support for this project,” Rodriguez told committee members. The City Council first saw ordinances related to the deal in 2010 and neighborhood engagement started in 2012.

Rodriguez praised St. Anthony for providing significant charity care and for improving vaccination rates during the pandemic in mostly Latino and Black neighborhoods.

He said the project drew “substantial and overwhelming support” during many community meetings. But the development has been revised over the years to deal with some residents’ objections about the closure of Washburne, which provided vocational training and was run by the public schools with the trade unions.

Others argued that the development could spur gentrification and should include affordable housing. But others said the hospital’s expansion is the overriding priority.

Housing was kept out of the project after discussions with the city but could be added in the future, according to a report from the city’s planning department.

Medaglia said he was surprised some people raised objections to a development that keeps health care in the community. “I come from the for-profit world. I found out it’s easier putting up a for-profit building than something that’s not-for-profit,” he said.

Last spring, the city agreed to sell him the former Washburne parcel for $5 million. Medaglia said total costs for buying the 29 acres have come to about $10 million.

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