A plan to transform the former Children’s Memorial Hospital site in Lincoln Park into condominium towers and storefronts is in limbo after the local alderman rejected the proposal for the high-profile site in one of Chicago’s toniest neighborhoods.
In a newsletter to constituents Wednesday, Ald. Michele Smith, 43rd, said the latest plan by Chicago-based McCaffery Interests Inc. to build three mixed-use buildings on the six-acre parcel is “simply too dense and that the plan aggravates the too-long unresolved problems of overcrowding in our schools.”
Smith said the large piece of land near Fullerton and Lincoln avenues is too important to break ground on until the design meets residents’ standards.
After hosting a series of crowded community meetings, Smith said local sentiment is solidly against the current plan.
“This is such an exciting opportunity, we absolutely have to get it right,” she said.
And since McCaffery needs a zoning change to proceed, nothing will happen without Smith’s backing.
Company officials were not available to comment Wednesday.
Smith said the developer has shown a willingness to work with the community and expects the firm to come back with a revised proposal in fairly short order.
“I think we all want this process to march forward,” she said.
Children’s Memorial moved to a new facility in the Streeterville neighborhood in June. Discussions about the future of the old location have been ongoing for years.
Smith knows well that Lincoln Park homeowners can get fired up over development issues.
She was first elected last year after campaigning against the plans for development of the former Lincoln Park Hospital site, which some area residents believed would further snarl traffic around the crowded intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Webster Street.
After extracting concessions from the Webster Square developers, Smith said she has taken those lessons to heart.
“I’m really listening to people, and acting on their concerns,” she said.
Alderman says 'no' to Children's Memorial condo tower plans
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