Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



County hospital report can mean whatever you like

Thursday, November 17, 2005
Chicago Journal
by David Bahlman
Letter to the Editor

Cook County Board President John Stroger recently released a $1.4 million consultant study that calls for the demolition of the former Cook County Hospital Building at 1835 W. Harrison St. By itself, that is hardly surprising news. Stroger has long indicated his desire to see the old building razed, if only to provide a clear view of the new hospital name d for him.

What is surprising about the study—at least for those willing to wade through its two volumes—is the large amount of information that actually supports the reuse of this majestic landmark structure, which dates from 1913. For example:

The consultants found that there is a critical need for office space for the county’s medical staff, as we had suspected when our own consultants analyzed the building nearly two years ago. The demand for office space would more than fill the existing 360,000 square feet in the former hospital building.

The former hospital building is well suited for office uses, both in its layout and in the structural soundness of its steel-and-concrete frame construction. Retention of the original hospital, as well as the construction of a new building for clinical and office space, would not exceed the open space or floor area limits imposed by the city’s planned development agreement with the Illinois Medical District. This is a point we had argued to largely deaf ears—and staunch denials—prior to the release of the report.

The monthly cost for maintaining the historic building is $29,000. While this is a considerable amount, it is far less than the $500,000-a-month figure previously thrown about by the proponents of demolition. Unfortunately, the consultant’s study neglected to mention a few other key facts that also would support the reuse of this irreplaceable historic structure, including:
In October 1994, the building was determined "eligible" for the National Register of Historic Places by the state agency responsible for making those recommendations to the federal government. However, actual listing never occurred because the owner of the property needs to consent to National Register listing. Also, it remains no surprise that Cook County Hospital has never been nominated as a Chicago landmark, since it’s h ard to imagine the City Council voting in opposition to Stroger’s long-expressed desires.

The report concludes that a rehabilitation scheme would cost $11 million more than a new construction alternative. But those figures are inflated, since they also include a large new addition. Furthermore, the study fails to consider one of the most valuable tools in the historic preservation toolbox: federal rehabilitation tax credits. Based on the study’s rehab estimates, this incentive could produce $12.6 million for a private developer, provided the county created the type of sale-leaseback arrangement that is common at many other levels of local, county, and state government. The fact that the county already leases other nearby medical-related buildings to private and nonprofit entities also was not reported in the study.

The study also mixes apples and oranges in its comparisons between rehab and new construction costs. The more relevant anal ysis is far simpler: What would it cost to rehab the 370,000-square-foot former hospital building versus the construction of a new structure of the same size? Given the still-spiraling costs of new steel and concrete (compared to saving those same materials in the old building), rehab would cost between $4 million less to an equal amount as new construction. However, the estimated $3 million cost to demolish the historic hospital would be saved. In addition, a rehab project would produce more local jobs than new construction, which spends a greater percentage of its budget on building materials manufactured elsewhere. Finally, a rehabilitation plan will deliver this office space quicker than new construction, especially given the other competing needs of the hospital complex, including an expensive new parking garage.
The impetus for preparing this master plan was the controversy over the proposed demolition of the Old Cook County Hospital. We applaud the cou nty for commissioning this study, which has illuminated many more facts than were available just a year ago. But we urge the County Board to look beyond the report’s recommendation to see what will be best for the users of the hospital, its medical staff, and—perhaps most of all—the taxpayers.

In our opinion, that decision remains simple. Save and reuse the Cook County Hospital Building.

David Bahlman
President, Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois



Recent Headlines

Unemployment rate unexpectedly falls
Friday, June 05, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

$140M renovation to transform old Cook County Hospital into hotel, office complex nearly complete
Friday, June 05, 2020
WLS ABC 7 Eyewitness News

How badly will COVID, looting hurt CPS finances?
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Jail releases could be spreading COVID-19 in community, study suggests
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Daily COVID-19 cases dip under 1,000, but officials warn it could take 2 weeks to see if protests prompt uptick (LIVE UPDATES)
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County state’s attorney’s office says it will review allegations that Chicago cops pulled woman from car by her hair and placed knee on her neck
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Report: 1 in 6 Chicago COVID-19 Cases Can Be Tied to Cook County Jail
Thursday, June 04, 2020
WTTW News

Cook County campsites, dog parks among amenities reopening
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Daily Herald

Rapper Vic Mensa: ‘The real looting is the looting of the body of George Floyd’ and other African Americans killed by police
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

‘We’re Here To Pray For Peace’: Faith Organizations March In Bronzeville To Protest George Floyd Killing
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
WBEZ News

The Spin: Politicians pivot to police reform | For Lightfoot, Preckwinkle and others, George Floyd death a painful reminder of racism in their lives | Chicago begins reopening
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune

‘COVID-19 Adjustment’ may lessen Cook County property taxes in light of pandemic
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
JD Supra

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune

More positive results for antiviral drug remdesivir in battle against COVID-19
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Live Updates: Looting Causes Food Shortages; Security Firms See Spike In Demand
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
WBEZ

So many were killed by gunfire in Chicago Sunday, the medical examiner brought in extra pathologists for the autopsies
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Social distancing measures remain in place at county jail
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Protests and peace: Pritzker, Preckwinkle, Cupich call for ‘peaceful action’ to stem ‘contagion’ of racism
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

With Dozens Being Shot Every Day, Anti-Violence Groups Continue Working Amid Looting And COVID-19
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
WBEZ News

Judge tells Cicero no more surprise visits at nursing home where more than a dozen died from coronavirus
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP