In the summer of 2002, the Ravenswood Hospital Medical Center in Chicago was closed down and sold to a Chicago-based development group headed up by Alex Bernhardt and David Lehman. This historic hospital is located in the heart of the Ravenswood neighborhood. The hospital’s closure was a significant loss to the community and generated intense concern regarding the future redevelopment of this prominent 1.5 square block property.
From the very beginning, Alex and Dave met with community residents and their leaders to create a redevelopment plan that was both financially feasible and met the needs of the neighborhood. Key community issues included affordable housing, traffic and parking, green space, and the continuation of hospital, medical, and day care services on the campus.
In October of 2002,, Alex and Dave presented their preliminary redevelopment plan to the public at a Ravenswood Community Council sponsored meeting. This plan called for the transformation of the property from a 24-hour, full-service 450 bed hospital complex into a less intensive mixed-use community that includes medical office, residential, specialty hospital, day care, and parking uses surrounding a new, centrally-located landscaped park. In December of 2002, the developers sold the specialty hospital to a neurosurgery group.
During the following year, Alderman Gene Schulter, the Ravenswood Hospital Task Force, numerous community organizations, and individual residents worked with the developers to refine the plan. In November of 2003 a proposed redevelopment plan received unanimous Task Force approval. This proposed redevelopment plan is presented on the following page. However, certain shared buildings still needed to be separated to facilitate development.
Over the next 18 months, the developers worked with the owners of the hospital to physically separate their specialty hospital from an adjoining building. In April of 2005, the arrangements for this complicated task were finally worked out.
With this separation project now underway, the focus of the redevelopment process turns to community outreach. The community’s support for this plan is necessary for the Ravenswood Town Center campus to be rezoned and the redevelopment plan to be implemented. For additional information about this plan and our outreach efforts, please contact Joel Gagne, Community Outreach Director for the Ravenswood Town Center project, at (773) 957-9472.