'Mega-development' for the South Side: City Council green-lights Michael Reese redevelopment

Chicago City Council has given the green light for a plan to transform the site of the Michael Reese Hospital campus on the South Side.

The plan is to build a $4 billion multi-use development site that will include affordable housing and commercial space. This includes apartments, parkland, retail, senior housing, and a life science research complex. 

The project will create up to 20,000 jobs, including participation by at least 30 percent minority- and 10 percent women-owned and provide housing for low-income residents in neighborhoods including Englewood, Auburn-Gresham and Chatham that have been marred by unprecedented gun violence in recent years.

The project is called the Bronzeville Lakefront

The multiphase project spans 48 acres west of DuSable Lake Shore Drive between McCormick Place to the north and 31st Street to the south. 

The city paid $91 million for the land in 2009 to be Chicago's Olympic village as part of the city's unsuccessful bid for the 2016 games. The site has sat vacant since the hospital complex was demolished in 2009.

The project is being developed by GRIT LLC, a team consisting of Farpoint DevelopmentDraper & KramerLoop Capital Management, McLaurin Development Partners, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, and Bronzeville Community Development Partnership. Architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill serves as master planner. 

The $600 million first phase will develop the site as a life sciences campus focused on health and biomedical technology. The plan includes a 500,000-square-foot laboratory and office facility housing the first U.S. arm of the Israel-based Sheba Medical Center.

Infrastructure construction is expected to begin this fall, which also will include senior housing and the Bronzeville Community Center. It could be completed by 2023.


The project’s $3 billion second phase is expected to include more medical research facilities, office, retail and residential units. GRIT has agreed to set aside about 1,000 residential units at reduced rates for low-income tenants.

The entire project could take up to 20 years to complete.