Re: Michal Reese Hospital
Date: January 04, 2015 07:21PM
I was the CEO of the hospital from 1995 until 2000.
The campus was over 53 acres with 27 seperate buildings, the Emergency department was two blocks away from the main radiology department and surgeries. There was one, massive heating plant for all buildings on the campus and steam heat was piped all over the fifty plus acres.
The complex was connected by an elaborate underground tunnel system that was very busy but the logistics were unreasonably expensive.
In the late 90's I proposed both combining the hospital with the Univerisity of Chicago Hospitals (for the second time) with then CEO Ralph Muller. This never got very far.
I then proposed building a new, high rise replacement hospital on the IIT campus and integrating our many medical educational programs with the IIT University.
The funds to rebuild would come from selling the vacated Reese campus to the City of Chicago for the then proposed Olympics bid. At that time the Bears were also threatening to leave the city if they could not get cooperation on a replacement stadium.
With the help of the Chief of the legal Department at IIT (and a Reese Board member), I advanced the notion that the Reese campus would be perfect for a location to replace Soldier Field got the Bears and become the main arena for the Olympics.
The campus could then become part of the adjacent McCormic Place campus and be governed by the Mcpeir authority for further development in the future.
McPier already owned the additional 50 acres east of the IC tracks adjacent to the Reese campus, used for truck parking for McCormic Place and my proposal was that by "bridging over" the tracks (as was done for Millennium Park)to combine the two fifty plus acre parcels, McPier would have hosted the Olympics, build the infrastructure including new hotels, built a new home for the Bears, added to the development of the near south side and gained over 100 acres of future venue for the lakefront.
I hired Earnst & Young to prepare the cost anylsis and referee the negotiations.
Sadly, my plan was rejected.
I was part of the team that then sold Reese to a private hospital operations firm from Arizona. That firm could not operate the aging, sprawling, facility in the highly competitive Chicago hospital environment and the the hospital went bankrupt and closed. The City did purchase the defunct hospital and land for future use.
As has been commented on here, the buildings were raised and the land is vacant.