"If they are well planned and developed...cities can promote economically, socially & environmentally sustainable societies." - Rio+20 Report, "The Future We Want."
Architect and Master Planner Daniel Hudson Burnham helped to rebuild the city of Chicago after the fire of 1871, that as local legend recounts was started when Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a lantern.
"In the midst of late 19th century urban disorder, Burnham offered a powerful vision of what a civilized American city could look like. He built some of the first skyscrapers in the world; directed construction of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition that inspired the City Beautiful Movement; and created urban plans for Washington DC, Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco and Manila—all before the profession of urban planning existed." (Daniel Burnham and the American City, PBS)
Burnham's "make no little plans..." exhortation is a call to all visionary members of society. Who among us will answer this call?
On Thursday April 18, 2013, the "Michael Reese Team" led by Skidmore Merrill and Owings, LLC (SOM) and O-H Community Partners will hold a community stakeholders' meeting from 6-8 pm at West Point Baptist Church (3566 S. Cottage Grove). This public meeting is the third of such public engagement initiatives and is organized to provide an "opportunity for members of the public to learn more about the redevelopment of the site, engage in dialogue with the project team, and ask any questions they have." This group of citizen planners, that includes Chicago businessmen, academics, artists and community leaders will attempt to harness the creativity and magic needed to unlock the social, economic, cultural and global positioning potential that the Michael Reese site and the historic Bronzeville neighborhood represent to present and future generations in the city, state and nation.
The Chicago Plan Commission is responsible for the review of proposals that involve Planned Developments (PDs), the Lakefront Protection Ordinance, Planned Manufacturing Districts (PMDs), Industrial Corridors and Tax Increment Financing (TIF)Districts. On January 9, 2012, the Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development (HED) issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to identify a firm to "manage and coordinate a strategic planning and development process; help define a redevelopment framework for the property that considers the findings of a Tech Park Advisory Committee report released last year; and articulate a set of implementation steps that leads to the creation of a formal RFP or other process to redevelop the site."
The City of Chicago awarded a two-year, $885,000 contract to a team led by Chicago-based architecture firm Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) for the redevelopment of the 37-acre Michael Reese Hospital site on Chicago’s South Side lakefront. SOM and O-H Community Partners ("The Michael Reese Project Team") organized the April 18th public meeting in satisfaction of a key deliverable under the contract, that requires "organization, management, power point presentations and documentation/follow-up of a rigorous community input and participation process."
Building on Chicago’s reputation as a global city, redevelopment of the former Michael Reese Hospital Site should achieve the following main objectives for Chicago and the Near South Side in particular:
1. Create high quality, 21st century jobs;
2. Attract established companies and foster creation of new companies in emerging business sectors;
3. Attract individual and institutional investors to support the growth and development of these companies;
4. Implement sustainable urban and development principles and strategies;
5. Foster redevelopment of the nearby Bronzeville and South Loop communities; and
6. Balance financial risk and return among private and public investors, while at the same time generating a positive return (direct and indirect) to the City on its initial investment.
Positioned between the government & financial sector of the Loop and the intellectual, cultural and civic engagement centers of the historic Bronzeville and Hyde Park neighborhoods, the site should serve as a bridge. The redevelopment must create “high-quality, 21st Century” jobs; attract established companies and foster creation of new companies in emerging business sectors; attract individual and institutional investors to support those companies and foster redevelopment of the nearby Bronzeville and South Loop communities.’ Any plan must “balance financial risk and return, using private and public investors while at the same time generating a positive return [direct and indirect] to the city on its initial investment.” Thus the plan must demonstrate that the project
1) Is Sustainable, Scalable and Innovative
2) Shows opportunity for growth
3) Shows opportunity for longevity
4) Generates its own income
5) Has growth potential and spins off other entrepreneurial efforts
"If they are well planned and developed...cities can promote economically, socially & environmentally sustainable societies." - Rio+20 Report, "The Future We Want"
While “market conditions will dictate what shape” the development ultimately takes, any Project should reflect and be integrated with the city's land use and planning policies. The Land Use Planning and Policy Division develops and implements citywide and neighborhood land use plans and manages the Chicago Plan Commission. It also reviews planned developments, lakefront protection applications, and proposed zoning changes in industrial corridors. Chicago’s Sustainability Plan which has seven pillars is instructive in the development of the Michael Reese Site: I. Economic Development and Job Creation; II. Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy; III. Transportation Options; IV. Water and Wastewater; V. Parks, Open Space, and Healthy Food; VI. Waste and Recycling; and VII. Climate Change. The Community and Strategic Plans (Community Plans, Open Space and Sustainability Plan) and Cultural Plans also offer direction.
In 2009, former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley purchased the historic Michael Reese site for 91 million dollars from Medline Industries, Inc., a Mundelein based hospital supplier. Daley sought to build an Olympic Village on the site but the city lost the bid for the 2016 Olympics to Brazil.
In December 2010, Mayor Richard M. Daley created an advisory panel, led by Frank M. Clark, Chairman and CEO of ComEd, to assess the potential for creating a world-class technology park on the site of the former Michael Reese Hospital. The Tech Park Advisory Committee sought to elevate Chicago as a globally competitive and innovative city, while at the same time contributing to the growth and economic prosperity of the local community, city, county and state.
The panel identified five key objectives for a tech park at this site:
1. Create high-quality, modern jobs that require a wide range of skills and education levels
2. Attract established companies, and foster creation of new companies, in emerging business sectors
3. Attract individual and institutional investors to support these companies
4. Foster economic development of the nearby communities
5. Balance financial risk and return among public and private investors, and generate a positive return (direct and indirect) on the City’s initial investment
On January 9, 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development (HED) issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to identify a master consultant and developer for the Michael Reese Hospital site project.
The City of Chicago awarded a two-year, $885,000 contract to a team led by Chicago-based architecture firm Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP for the redevelopment of the 37-acre Michael Reese Hospital site on Chicago’s South Side lakefront. Pursuant to the RFP, the master consultant will "manage and coordinate a strategic planning and development process; help define a redevelopment framework for the property that considers the findings of a Tech Park Advisory Committee report released last year; and articulate a set of implementation steps that leads to the creation of a formal RFP or other process to redevelop the site."
The key deliverable under the contract will include, but are not limited to, the following:
4.1 Organization, management, power point presentations and documentation/follow-up of a rigorous community input and participation process;
4.2 Detailed site assessment and analysis drawings and reports;
4.3 Planning and development principles for the property;
4.4 Development of program options and land uses;
4.5 Illustrative master plan and supporting graphics;
4.6 A strategic development plan which identifies the best set of initiatives to pursue in testing/fulfilling the vision of the Tech Park Advisory Committee Report; 4.7 Draft RFP(s) or applicable documents;
4.8 Identification of a list of qualified developers that the RFP would be sent to; 4.9 Identification of funding sources and implementation strategies for the proposed initiatives; and
4.10 Detailed schedule and timeline for redevelopment by phase and/or as discreet development opportunities arise.
Stay Tuned for a post-meeting update.
Some Informational Resources: (Please feel free to share more info.)
Report of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development -"The Future We Want." Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 20–22 June, 2012.
January 2012 RFP - Submittal Deadline was 3/08/20-12. http://www.planning.org/uploads/consultants/requests/7641_City_of_Chicago_Michael_Reese_Site_RFP.pdf
May 2011 Tech Park Advisory Panel Report: http://www.ccachicago.org/sites/default/files/Michael%20Reese%20Site%20Report.pdf
Background on Development and planning in Bronzeville from Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM, LLC) https://www.som.com/publication/invisible-superblock
Community Stakeholders: Near South Planning Board - http://thenearsouthplanningboard.org/index.php?link=2