Michael Reese Hospital, lakefront, Presidential library

South Side residents voiced their support for the construction of President Barack Obama’s presidential library at the former Michael Reese Hospital site in the near South Side.

200 residents discussed redevelopment projects for the vacant 48 acre lot on South Ellis Avenue in a community meeting last week. The city bought the lakefront property in 2009 and demolished all but one of the buildings on the hospital campus after Michael Reese Hospital switched ownership.

Real estate developer Michael Reese left funds in his will to replace a Jewish hospital destroyed in the Great Fire of 1871 with a hospital in his name. The hospital joined the South Side Planning Board to revitalize the hospital’s surrounding area and made medical advances such as becoming the first permanent incubator station for premature babies.
After Chicago lost its bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics which would have transformed the hospital campus into an athletic training facility, residents met to discuss alternative redevelopment projects.

“This will go hand in hand with it a lot of the redevelopment projects that I’ve worked on in the area,” Steele said.

Bronzeville, which is located near the former hospital campus, has become a real estate activity hub as agents such as RE/MAX agent Hasani Steele contribute to redevelopment projects in the South Side. The hospital campus is a stone’s throw away from the Lake Park twin residences property he is listing on 3606 S. Lake Park Ave. The 4 bedroom 3 bathroom lakefront property is listed for $359,900.

The University of Chicago and Obama’s home state of Hawaii are also in the hunt for attracting the presidential library which will join 13 national presidential libraries that preserve presidential records.

Residents also proposed an athletic field, convention hotel, technology park and a shopping mall as redevelopment projects at the former hospital campus. Alderman Will Burns whose ward includes the hospital site said he is not opposed to attracting a casino as a possible anchor for the site.