The redevelopment of Lincoln Park Hospital
11/17/2010 10:00 PM
The redevelopment of Lincoln Park Hospital (LPH) is an important issue for the 43rd Ward. The 3-acre site lies at the center of our ward, and its redevelopment can have a positive impact on the surrounding neighborhood as other redevelopment projects have had here and elsewhere in the city.
The process of redevelopment begins with the siteís owner who must create an economically feasible and suitable plan for the review, comment, and eventual approval by the alderman, as the communityís representative, the Chicago Plan Commission and City Council.
Ultimately, all development plans involve compromise. The Aldermanís role is to facilitate communication, act as an advocate for the community, guide the effort to reach a reasonable consensus, and ultimately take a position that represents the interests of the Ward and City.
There are certain criteria that I believe should apply to the LPH development:
1. Any redevelopment should respect the Lincoln/Webster/Geneva/Larrabee intersection as one of the mixed-use gateways to the Mid-North Chicago Landmark District and insure no negative impact to the character of the adjacent historic residential neighborhood.
2. Prior agreements regarding the site should be respected, if the current structures are retained. The lots to its east should serve as a buffer between the former hospital tower and the adjacent residential landmark district.
3. Existing curb cuts which were previously negotiated to be as far west as possible should be a reasonable basis for any entrances to the parking structure.
4. There should be no height or square footage added to the existing buildings.
5. There should be no parking on the existing parking garage roof.
6. All loading, trash removal and parking access should be completely internalized within the buildings or existing service drive. On-street truck loading should not be allowed as it would transform Webster into a spill-over loading dock.
7. Any uses of the property must not present an unacceptable effect on traffic and safety.
8. There should be no curb cuts or vehicular access on Lincoln Avenue or Geneva Terrace.
9. The Grant Place structure should be compatible with the residential use and scale of the surrounding RM5 zoning district.
10. The redevelopment proposal should implement environmentally friendly design and construction standards and be compatible with recognized urban planning guidelines.
11. All agreements on scale, density, use, parking, aesthetics, signage, operations, and construction should be explicitly documented in the Planned Development Ordinance or community agreement.
The senior housing component that was part of the original proposal has been eliminated. I think thatís an unfortunate change and believe there is a demand for reasonable senior housing in the neighborhood. There are many residents who as they grow older want to stay in the neighborhood but may want to downsize or have a home thatís more fitting of their lifestyle needs. Senior housing would add residential units without adding to the school age population that burdens Lincoln Elementary School. I would encourage the developers to revisit this option. I would also suggest a needs assessment survey of the community to see what type of uses are desired before developing businesses that may not be appropriate.
It is not in the best interest of the ward to block reasonable development efforts on this site. We must work together to bring this site back to life and find a compromise that will allow redevelopment to proceed.
As many in the community know, I was intricately involved in negotiating a successful redevelopment plan for the former Columbus Hospital site and helped facilitate the Childrenís Memorial Hospital Site Re-Use Feasibility Study. From my experience with many projects large and small, I know first-hand that the LPH project will take additional discussions and compromise by all sides.