Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Uptown Psych Hospital Plans $20M Expansion

Rendering of future children's pavilion (via Stephen Rankin Associates)
By Kristen Schorsch

"A North Side psychiatric hospital is taking advantage of the ills in the real estate market to plan a 60-bed facility on a lakefront site once pegged for condominiums.

Chicago Lakeshore Hospital plans to renovate a vacant, five-story building at 4720 N. Clarendon Ave., which a developer once proposed tearing down to make way for a mid-rise condo tower. The structure is about two blocks south of Lakeshore's main building, at 4840 N. Marine Dr., which has 146 beds.

Lakeshore, part of Corona, Calif.-based for-profit Aurora Behavioral Health Care, would move 60 beds from the main building to the new facility, which would be dedicated to inpatient care for children up to age 17.

The 50,000-square-foot building on Marine Drive has received about $10 million in upgrades over the past four years, including a new sprinkler system. It will maintain 86 adult beds.

Lakeshore's 3,600-square-foot, one-story outpatient facility at 850 W. Lawrence Avenue, about two blocks west of the main hospital building, will be demolished and a 24,000-square-foot, three-story building erected in its place. Administrative offices will be consolidated there." Continue Reading

UU Note:  We have been following the saga of the hospital expansion at 4720 N Clarendon for quite a while, including Chicago Lakeshore's working with the community and the surrounding block clubs on the configuration of the building there.  Click here for more stories.  Crain's is wrong when it says that the building "is the former Charter Barclay psychiatric hospital, which closed in 1996."  In actuality, the building on the site was first built in 2000 (clearly noted on the cornerstone) and has never been occupied.  Charter Barclay was a previous hospital on the site, but was torn down.  Read the complete history of the site here.

The 4720 N Clarendon site is in the 46th Ward.  The proposed 850 W Lawrence site is in the 48th Ward.  Last we heard, Ald. Osterman had held hearings on the proposal for a larger building on the Lawrence site and had sent neighbors a letter saying he would not be approving the larger building.  The Crain's article is news to us.


  1. Good to hear. The more people that can benefit from their services the better.

  2. The last communication the neighbors received from the Alderman on this was that he had opposed it.

  3. Why do we need more mental health hospitals and services in Uptown? Enough is enough, please stop dumping all of the members of society that need assistance in my back yard. I though electing new Alderman was going to change this trend and I hope it does.

  4. Jorge Chicago --

    The 4720 Clarendon site was built in 2000 and has never been occupied. Chicago Lakeshore Hospital has been trying to buy the site since Shiller's reign and has worked with the community on how to configure it. The hospital currently operates on Marine Drive, and has for quite a while. It plans to move some of its existing patient beds from its existing facility at Marine and Gunnison over to the 4720 building.

    According to Crain's, the 850 W Lawrence facility is currently a medical building owned Chicago Lakeshore Hospital. It would, according to Crain's, remain an medical facility and administrative building.

    No new mental health facilities would be added to Uptown, if the information in Crain's is correct.

  5. Jorge Chicago,

    As a social worker who works in the mental health field I have to point out to you. Locked mental health facilities are not the problem in this community. It is the mental health/substance abuse facilities that allow their residents to come and go without any structure that your anger should be directed at. As others have mentioned Lakeshore Hospital has been serving this population without negative impact to the community for years as far as I know. I have been to Thorek, Kindred and Lakeshore Hospitals many times. I have also visited Somerset, Grasmere All American and Wilson Care Nursing homes many times. There is a big difference to the problems brought to the community from Locked Hospital wards vs limited structured open nursing homes that allow dangerous behavior to continue with limited interventions.

  6. @ Jorge Chicago-I think the mentally ill are the least of Uptown's problems. Blame it on the gang bangers and drug dealers that tend to shoot guns as a solution to conflicts. Mentally ill people are SICK and DISABLED. They need help. And people with ignorant attitudes toward mental illness aren't helping. The Chicago Lakeshore Hospital has been there for many years now, they are only changing/expanding their location.

  7. Most of these Psych hospitals are nothing more then a fancy name for drug rehab center. There is a Nurse I know that worked at the old Charter Barclay Hospital. 95% of all the patients where drug heads and from what she tells went on there I am glad it is no longer there. Clinics are one thing. Housing for drug heads makes our neighborhood unsafe and unhealthy.

  8. Wise Guy,

    Well over 50% of people with serious mental health issues also suffer from substance abuse issues. The % goes up when they are not in a structured living situation with professionals who can set limits. So as someone who has worked in and around hospitals for some time I can tell you that many of the admissions have to do with BOTH issues.

    Of course a true drug rehab center, also must address both issues as so many of the people who have identified themselves with a substance abuse issue, also have serious mental health issues that need to be addressed.

    BTW those walk in clinics "we have free phone's to use" in Uptown are hardly what I would call Drug Rehab Centers. But that is just my opinion.

    I guess the point I am trying to make is that you can't group all "mental health centers" or "drug tx centers" together. There are good and bad just like about everything else.

  9. The author clearly states that part of the expansion project is to allow for greater outpatient services. They are tearing down a 3600 sq foot building and adding a 24,000 sq foot building! That has nothing to do with filling a vacant building with youth mental health services. If you believe they are doing this for greater administrative offices, you are crazy. Medicaid doesn't pay for secretaries and accountants, they pay for the number of patients that come through the doors.
    I would rather have the vacant lot.
    And who do you think the "gangbangers" are selling their drugs to? There is a reason they choose the neighborhoods they do because a lot of the patients receiving services from these facilities have drug issues. Harsh words I know and all the soft-hearted people that want to help everyone will hate this post, but it is how I feel and a lot of people I know in the neighborhood feel the same way. Why do you need my tax or TIF dollars, why don't you all donate to it instead? In fact, let them move in your homes then everyone will get what they want.

  10. The current "best practices" rules UV has stated pretty much keeps providers from ruling over patient's lives with an iron fist, no matter how badly (a very few) need that.
    They have to want to change but they just never seem to get inspired to...
    I've lived in a few places with a lot of Thresholds/C4 folks and it's just a few making the whole seem pretty rotten. Doesn't stop me from being bitter about it, though.

  11. I retract my former bitter statement about social workers, as I've been informed they ones I've complained about don't officially hold the title.

  12. Not that property values are going up anytime soon anyway!

  13. this is what happens when good oppurtunities land (lol at the prime lakefront meme around here) get snapped up by things you really don't want IYBY, same thing will happen with Maryville.

  14. I couldn't agree more with 'Jorge Chicago'.

    We do NOT need anymore outpatient facilities in the area. This would be a large expansion of LakeShore and bring more trouble to this neighborhood.

    Of course, the drug dealers/gang bangers are the true enemies here but these patients are too easily turned to clients and therefore make this facility and the surrounding area a prime target for more substance abuse, drug sales and gang warfare for this lucrative trade.

    If they say now, that it is intended for youth with psychiatric needs and will be a secure facility with no people roaming in and out, then sure that sounds okay. However, it might start out like that and they could quickly decide to change the way they operate, allowing out patient care and freedom to come and go as the patients see fit. This I find to be very troublesome. No Thanks!!!!