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Prentice Hospital preservationists: NU has enough land

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a-prentice-72-1.jpgPreservationists trying to save the old Prentice Women's Hospital in Streeterville released a report today saying Northwestern-related entities own 44 percent of the Near North Side neighborhood.

Their tally shows the "Northwestern family" owns 23 buildings on 25 acres of land in the area bounded by Pearson Street, Grand Avenue, Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive. 

The Save Prentice Coalition, which includes includes AIA Chicago, DoCoMoMo, Landmarks Illinois, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Preservation Chicago, wants to save the building designed in the early 1970s by Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg.

The coalition defines the "Northwestern family" as Northwestern University, Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation and Northwestern Medicine.

In a press release, the Save Prentice Coalition said, "The goal .. is to show that Northwestern owns more than enough property to accommodate its stated needs, if only the institution would engage in thoughtful planning."

Northwestern University says the building at 333 E. Superior can't be adapted to modern uses and that it needs the land the building occupies for a new biomedical research facility. The university also says it can't build on land it doesn't own, even if it's owned by another Northwestern-linked entity.

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks could consider landmark status for the building as soon as Oct. 4.

Northwestern University spokesman Al Cubbage said Thursday, "Our position remains that the site is the linch pin for our biomedical research facilities."

Northwestern plans to connect its new research facility "on a floor-by-floor basis" with existing facilities, which means keeping the old building and building elsewhere won't work, Cubbage said.

"The only place we can do that is on the site of old Prentice," he said.

The new facility will bring in about $400,000 million in economic impact and provide 2,000 full-time jobs, he said. As for vacant land across the street, Northwestern Memorial Hospital plans to build a new patient care facility there, he said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday he is trying to find common ground between the two sides.

Read Northwestern University's facilities study report here.

Read the Save Prentice Facebook page here.

Read a Sept. 4 Sun-Times editorial here.

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4 Comments

NU's position if ludicrous. Alma mater, shame be thine

If the preservationists are serious, they should purchase the old building at their expense and point NMH in the direction of a similar piece of property on which to build the new building. Why should the hospital have to "save" a building they can't use? A lot of the arguments are that many were born there. All of my children were born there. I have my kids, and lots of picture and videos, even if the building stays, I'm not planning on going back for a visit. Get real.

Yes, Susan, if anyone were making that argument, it wouldn't be a very good one. In truth, the argument is about the architectural importance of the building. It's a unique and innovative structure which holds a special place in the history of hospital design. Northwestern has nearby land which it could gain access to easily. Why tear it down something of great value when you don't need to?

Tux,

Please read this again and again:
"Northwestern plans to connect its new research facility "on a floor-by-floor basis" with existing facilities, which means keeping the old building and building elsewhere won't work".

That means other "nearby" sites, even a block away, won't work. Geez, these preservationists are either just dumb or playing like one. Some of them suggest it can turn into a hotel. LOL! Who wants to stay at this ugly building? Northwestern is a major research insitition and NOT in the hotel business.
That this building (an eyesore to most) is of achitectural importance is not a fact but only your opinion. It is really offensive to see people like you to intrude the rights of the property owner and sabotage life-saving medical research that would bring hunderds of jobs to the city just to placate small number of people like you whose opinion is never widely shared.

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