IRVING PARK — Northwestern Medicine’s plan to build a $150 million medical facility at the site of the former Sabatino’s restaurant won City Council approval Wednesday.
Northwestern bought an entire block of Irving Park Road between North Kilbourn and North Kenneth avenues last year. It includes the former site of Sabatino’s at 4441 W. Irving Park.
The project underwent numerous changes at the request of the community and Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th). The freshman aldermen threw his support behind the project last month and it was approved by the city’s Zoning Committee yesterday before getting unanimous approval by the City Council.
“Many residents who now have to travel great distances to receive necessary services will now be able to receive those same services in their own community,” Gardiner said during Wednesday’s meeting. “I want to sincerely thank Northwestern and their team for making the adjustments to their original proposal.”
The Old Irving Park Association also supported the amended plans.
“We are excited to have Northwestern Medicine bring first class medical care to the Old Irving Park Neighborhood and look forward to welcoming them as a neighbor,” the group said in a statement.
During community meetings last month neighbors said they liked the idea of having closer access to Northwestern medical care, but some who live near the development worry the building’s design will exacerbate traffic congestion in an area that already clogs during rush hours, especially on Cubs game days. The project is down the street from the Six Corners intersection.
The entrance to the parking garage is slated to be off of Kilbourn Avenue and Northwestern estimates the new building could generate about 2,600 car trips per day from building staff and patients coming and going.
Scott McDonald, one of the neighbors critical of the development’s current plans, said attempts to get Northwestern to revise the project further to address his concerns now appeared to be “a lost cause” and declined to comment further.
Another neighbor, Dan Jacobs, also said he wasn’t pleased with the final version of the project.
“It’s particularly disappointing to be used as part of a show to pretend like you’ve listened to the neighbors,” Jacobs said. The changes Northwestern made were “surface level at best,” he said.
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