MEDICAL DISTRICT — Vacant for nearly two decades, the sprawling old Cook County Hospital has reopened as a dual branded hotel in the Medical District.
Hyatt House and Hyatt Place officially opened inside the century-old building Tuesday at 1835 W. Harrison St. The dual-branded hotel features 210 rooms, a fitness center and event space.
The redevelopment of the old hospital, helmed by Murphy Development Group and the Walsh Group, will also include 75,000 square feet of medical office space for Cook County Health, a day care center, a museum paying tribute to the hospital’s legacy and a food hall.
For years, the fate of the neglected Beaux-Arts classical-style building’s was in limbo as its terra cotta facade crumbled and its interior was ruined from water damage.
Over two years, the renovation team spent more than $18 million on the facade alone including replacing windows and 4,160 terra cotta pieces on the building’s exterior.
All of the building’s interior was gutted except the old surgical theaters, said Ken Johnston, senior project manager at Walsh Group told Block Club in January.
The reopening of the Old Cook County Hospital is part of a larger plan to revitalize the area. The project, called Harrison Square, will be developed in phases and will be anchored by the revamped old Cook County Hospital.
The project will also include new buildings with 31,000 square feet of office space, an apartment building and retail, according to the Harrison Square website.
Beyond being architecturally significant, the old Cook County Hospital carries a wealth of personal history for many Chicago residents, said Bonnie McDonald, CEO and president of Landmarks Illinois.
“This was really Chicago’s Ellis Island. … It was where anyone could get service and care at a time where people couldn’t afford that health care. Anyone could come to Cook County and they were not turned away,” McDonald said.
“It had the first blood bank in the entire country, as well as being one of the first to serve people suffering from HIV and AIDS,” McDonald said.
Cook County Hospital first opened in 1857 and was used as a teaching hospital by Rush Medical School. The hospital, designed by architect Paul Gerhardt, was rebuilt in 1914. It closed after it was replaced by Stroger Hospital of Cook County in 2002.
Check out more photos of the hotel below:
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