Thursday, February 21, 2013

Curbed Chicago reports on Webster Square progress, Lincoln Park

 Curbed Chicago posted some photos of demolition and conversion progress at Webster Square; one of two "controversial" hospital re-developments in Lincoln Park.  It's rare to have two such large infill projects in close proximity that happen to be in a top tier Chicago neighborhood.
Former Lincoln Park Hospital parking structure back in 2011 (more photos by Eric Rojas here)

We've been watching the developments of two vacant hospitals in Lincoln Park.  The short strip of North Lincoln Ave (running southeast from Halsted to Larrabee) is poised for large developments and the addition of many housing units. There have been many neighborhood challenges to the developments...and rightly so.  Progress in this prime area has been slow.
The closed down, vacant Children's Memorial Hospital near Lincoln and Halsted (now Lurie Children's in Streeterville)  Photo, Eric Rojas

However, this vibrant area needs the housing and density to support long standing businesses and new business development.  It's also a location near transit and the lake that is very desirable and should be more dense.  Remember, these are ugly, old commercially zoned hospital buildings they are re-developing... not classic row house architecture getting wiped out. 

We'll probably end up with something rather banal looking for each of these high profile locations.  If the process and cost of development was made more attractive, perhaps developers could use more interesting materials and design.