ULI Chicago members and guests gathered virtually this week for our “Spotlight on the IMD” webinar, which convened key individuals working to redevelop the IMD, located just two miles west of Chicago’s Loop. Since the founding of Cook County Hospital in 1857, the area known as the Illinois Medical District (IMD) has been home to renowned healthcare and life science institutions. Today, the 560-acre healthcare and technology district is home to hospitals, universities, medical research facilities and labs, biotech business, government agencies and over 40 healthcare related facilities.
Dr. Suzet McKinney, CEO & Executive Director, Illinois Medical District, started the discussion presenting an overview of the Illinois Medical District and all it has to offer. With 4 anchor institutions, Rush University Medical Center, University of Illinois Hospital, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, the IL Medical District is the second largest urban medical district in the US. Dr. McKinney noted the $3.4 Billion economic impact of the IMD, including 700+ clinical trials, 500+ NIH grants, and 30+ emerging tech companies. While anonymity and capital, along with engagement of partners continues to be a challenge, the innovative growth of the IMD is just beginning. She stated that the vision is for the IMD to be an economic engine for Chicago/Illinois and a global destination for innovation and medical sciences.
Following Dr. McKinney’s overview, she moderated a discussion between an interdisciplinary team of experts: Christine Carlyle, Principal & Director of Planning, SCB, Bob Eisenberg, Professor, Department of Physiology & Biophysics, Rush Medical College, and Tyler Holland, Development Manager, East Lake Management & Development Corp.
Christine Carlyle was one of the key individuals who worked on the IMD Master Plan. She walked through some of the ways the IMD is being developed and strengthened, including changing some key infrastructure pieces – adding in green space, making the buildings outward facing and moving the parking outside the core of the IMD. She also expressed the importance of supporting transit use, walkability, and having high quality employee amenities. Christine also discussed how the revitalization to the IMD will strengthen economic impact. Additionally, Christine shared pictures of = some of the redevelopments already underway, such as the old Cook County Hospital and The Gateway, which was discussed in greater detail by Tyler Holland.
Dr. Bob Eisenberg then touched on how the IMD can be a leader in shaping the city/state/regional response to COVID-19 or other public health emergencies. He also noted that there is already much talent to draw from at the IMD through the institutions that exist there.
Tyler Holland bookended the discussion with Suzet McKinney by discussing “The Gateway”, a mixed-use development including residential, retail, office and a Hilton hotel. This central location features a much-desired Starbucks, Chipotle, as well as other restaurants, and a forthcoming 11-story apartment building with high end amenities at 2050 W. Ogden. Tyler communicated the versatility and innovation of this district, suggesting the opportunity for a variety of developments to coexist collectively.
The Webinar concluded with a Q&A session from audience members, that covered additional topics, including the impact COVID-19 has had on the development, what changes are being made in response to COVID-19 i.e. air quality, specifics of the residential buildings, and the promotion of equity.