Friday, January 27, 2012

"Groundbreaking" At New Chicago Lakeshore Hospital Wednesday

Left to Right:  Chicago Lakeshore Hospital CEO Alan Eaks,
Ald. James Cappleman, State Sen. Heather Steans, and
State Rep. Greg Harris.  Photographer:  Tim Smith of Starbelly Studios
Some good news!  Earlier this week there was a "ground-breaking" ceremony for a long-empty building by a for-profit business that will begin pumping money into Uptown's economy.

12 years after it was built (as an Alzheimer's care facility) and then abandoned (because its owner, Heritage Care of Chicago, ran out of money), Chicago Lakeshore Hospital ( has bought the building at 4720 N Clarendon and will update it to the tune of $20 million.  It is set to open in the fall as an extension of CLH's existing facility in Uptown.

Wednesday there was a groundbreaking -- a non-traditional one, due to the fact that the building is already built!  We are told, "the idea was to have a piece of drywall which was decorated with childlike drawings.  Everyone was then invited to sign the drywall, which will either be put up facing inward like a time capsule, or possibly displayed. It is still being decided."

The use of the building will be to move 60 patient beds over from Chicago Lakeshore's current location, at Marine and Gunnison.  The Clarendon location will be for children and teens, and will be a locked facility.

It may be surprising to some that Uptown Update favors this project, since we have been adamant in our belief that Uptown is over-saturated with social services and care facilities, while communities elsewhere in Chicago have few in comparison.  We feel one community should not bear a responsibility that should be shared equally.  But we like this new building for several reasons:
  • First and foremost, Chicago Lakeshore Hospital has a proven track record of good community relationships in Uptown.  We have spoken to people who live mere feet away from CLH's existing facility, on Castlewood, and they speak highly of the way the hospital is run, keeping a very low profile.  Good neighbors shouldn't be stopped from expansion because of the bad practices of other providers.
  • CLH worked closely with Uptown Chicago Commission, block clubs, and neighbors of the Clarendon/Lakeside site to come up with a good site configuration that would keep noise and disturbances to a minimum and away from nearby residences.
  • Patient beds will be moved from an existing Uptown site; this is not a new hospital.
  • CLH is a for-profit entity, not a non-taxpaying non-profit.  Uptown will see increased tax revenues by this building being occupied.
  • We understand that the building at 4720 - because it was built for the specific use as a patient care facility - is unsuitable for a conversion to residences.  12 years of it sitting vacant is ridiculous.  We've wanted to see that building occupied for quite a while.
4720 Clarendon is in a TIF district, the Lakeside/Clarendon TIF, created specifically so this plot of land could be developed.  You can read a brief history of the TIF here.  From CLH's public relations firm:  "CLH is not using TIF funds for this project, but is interested in accessing some.  It has not been determined whether they will be available."


  1. I am VERY UNIMPRESSED AND DISAPPOINTED thus far in Lakeshore Hospitals ownership of their new vacant properties on both Clarendon AND Leland. There are probably 25 bags worth of garbage in both fenced in lots that need picked up. It is digusting and disgraceful! If Lakeshore Hospitals want to be a good neighbor AND earn MY TIF money, at least spend an hour a week cleaning up all the garbage in the vacant lots you now control!

  2. Is that 25 Jewel bags or Hefty Jumbo Leaf and Lawn bags were talkin' bout?

  3. The sideyard between Chicago Lakeshore & 809 W. Lakeside is even worse 4 months on & now that work has begun and there's movement in and out of the site, it blows all over adjacent properties. Needs urgent attention!

    Who is contact person in 46th ward office with oversight on construction sites?