Compromise reached on former Children’s Memorial Hospital site

The Children’s Memorial redevelopment plan will move to the city’s Department of Planning and Development on Feb. 20 after compromises were made. Following several community meetings, an agreement was made between McCaffery Interests and Alderman Michele Smith including one major building height reduction.

A five-story health club will replace the proposed 11-story residential building along Lincoln Avenue. The health club will be a similar height to the adjacent parking lot.

“This will also result in a more pleasing streetscape, as the remaining two taller buildings are set back from the street,” Smith said. “It will also mean less overall height for the project as well as less massing, less density and a meaningful reduction in traffic, especially car and truck traffic.”

McCaffery will also pay for traffic improvements on Fullerton, Halsted and Lincoln that will include bike lanes for the first time at the busy intersection.

Neighbors also expressed concerns over parking issues with the redevelopment. McCaffery will provide 35 free parking spots at Lincoln Elementary. Additionally, customers for the retail space will have access to 90 minutes of free validated parking and residential permit parking in the area will be increased, Smith said.

The revised plan includes an underground loading dock in a tunnel under Fullerton. There will be no loading dock or truck traffic on Orchard or Burling.

The old Children’s Memorial site has sat empty for more than two years. The redevelopment plan was put on hold while Smith focused on the Lincoln Elementary overcrowding situation as a priority.

Before the plan is presented to the Chicago Plan Commission, Smith said “representatives of the neighborhood community organizations will work with our office and their residents to finalize a strong community agreement, which will detail protections regarding land use and construction.”