The Bronzeville Welcoming Center planned for the former Michael Reese Hospital site. Credit: Provided

BRONZEVILLE — It’s official: Bronzeville Lakefront is a go.

The City Council Wednesday overwhelmingly approved the ballyhooed project, which will transform the former Michael Reese Hospital campus into a sprawling commercial and residential development.

Once eyed as a possible location for the 2016 Olympic village, those hopes were quickly dashed when Chicago lost its bid for the games. The site had been vacant since the hospital’s closure in 2009. All but one building — the Singer Pavilion — remains.

With City Council backing, GRIT Chicago, a group of developers led by Farpoint Development, can start creating 8 million square feet of office, retail and research space, along with 7,000 residential units.

Earlier this week, the council’s Zoning Committee approved zoning changes to the 48-acre campus and the Housing Committee signed off on the $97 million sale of the land. The Finance Committee also approved committing $60 million in city funding to support public infrastructure for the development.

Construction could start this fall with expanding and possibly relocating an existing Metra Station from 27th Street to 31st Street. Those projects would be built over two years, according to GRIT team member David Doig, president of Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives.

Later, developers will start with building a biomedical research facility, welcoming center, senior housing and a public park on the grounds. Singer Pavilion also will be repurposed. Though not an official landmark, the abandoned psychiatric hospital has historical significance as it was one of the first postwar structures to be built.

The plot of land where the multibillion-dollar development would overhaul the former site of Michael Reese Hospital, as seen in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood on May 19, 2021. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

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