GRIT to buy former Michael Reese Site for $96.9 million for mixed-use redevelopment

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Credit: Farpoint Development

The former Michael Reese Hospital Site in Bronzeville would be sold by the city to local developer GRIT Chicago LLC for $96.9 million and redeveloped as a 7 million-sq.-ft. mixed-use community through redevelopment and infrastructure agreements proposed to City Council by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

The sale of the 48-acre property would occur in phases over the next 14 years, starting with an anticipated $8.8 million GRIT payment for approximately 3.1 acres of land near 31st St. and Cottage Grove Ave.

GRIT’s initial purchase would include a $20 million option payment to secure the right for future acquisitions; a commitment to fund $25 million in improvements to nearby Chicago Public Schools facilities before the first 3 million square feet of space is constructed; and a commitment to provide $10 million in financing for an approximately 40,000-sq.-ft. community center in a future building.

Bounded by 26th St., the Metra Electric tracks, 31st St., and portions of Vernon Ave. and King Drive, the former hospital site was acquired by the city in 2009 and subsequently cleared of most buildings. A request for proposals for its redevelopment in 2016 resulted in GRIT’s selection by the city in 2017.

The GRIT team comprises Farpoint Development, Loop Capital Management, Draper & Kramer, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, McLaurin Development Partners, and Bronzeville Community Development Partnership.

The infrastructure agreement, for up to $60 million in public improvements, would help create a walkable, vibrant, mixed-use community that includes more than nine acres of new green space, bike facilities, sidewalks, and utilities. The work would also re-establish a comprehensive roadway network throughout the site, including new and improved sections of 26th, 27th, 29th, and 30th streets; Lake Park Ave.; and Cottage Grove Ave. The improvements would accommodate future infrastructure connections to the east, across the Metra tracks, enabling lakefront access.

To be financed by the city through general obligation bonds, infrastructure construction would be completed by GRIT within three years.

GRIT’s planned “Bronzeville Lakefront” redevelopment project is expected to start with a $600 million first phase that will revitalize the southern end of the property with an Arc Innovation Building; senior housing; a new park at 31st St., and the adaptive re-used of the Singer Pavilion, the only remaining building from the hospital complex. The $3-billion second phase will revitalize the northern end of the site with medical facilities, retail space, offices, residential buildings, a data center and open spaces.

The project will create approximately 48,000 temporary and permanent jobs, including participation by at least 30% minority- and 10% women-owned business enterprises. At least 20 percent of the housing will be priced as affordable.

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