Chicagoans protesting conversion of Weiss Hospital to apartment complex removed in Uptown

Activists camping out at the former Weiss Hospital in Uptown were removed from the property Wednesday, ending an 11-day occupation.

Police escorted the protesters out of the parking lot and ticketed three for trespassing.

The activists are upset over plans to convert the hospital into apartments. They set up a camp last week in the former parking lot of Weiss Memorial Hospital near Clarendon and Wilson avenues in an effort to halt construction


Adam Gottlieb, of the Chicago Union of the Homeless, said he was one of three people who were issued citations for trespassing when police showed up Wednesday at their "community" and told them they had to vacate the space.

"This luxury development should not happen," Gottlieb said. "The people of Uptown and the people of Chicago need access to housing and health care, and building luxury apartments and condos … is not helping anyone."

Contractors for Lincoln Property have put up fencing around the site, while they await permits from the city to begin construction.

Activists attached signs with messages like "Housing for the People!" and "Keep Uptown Affordable" to the barrier. The tables, chairs and fold-up tents that made up the camp were instead arranged on the sidewalk.

Marc Kaplan, an organizer with Northside Action for Justice, said the planned apartment complex will cater to people without families, resulting in a loss of school population in the area. He also said the building will cause property taxes to rise and further increase gentrification.

"They’re not built for families," Kaplan said of the apartments, adding that the rents would be too expensive for those with children. "We’ve lost thousands of families that have been pushed out of the neighborhood."

The development company won city approval last year to build a 12-story, 314-unit apartment complex. Plans only include eight affordable apartments, which is the minimum required for the project.

To satisfy its remaining affordability requirement, Lincoln paid $3 million to nonprofit Sarah’s Circle for an Uptown housing development for women facing homelessness.

Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.