LITTLE VILLAGE — A key city panel approved plans for a controversial Southwest Side development anchored by St. Anthony Hospital.
The Chicago Plan Commission signed off last week on the 30-acre Focal Point Community Campus at the former Washburne Trade School site. The complex at 31st Street and Kedzie Avenue includes the new hospital, vocational school, day care, public market, affordable housing, restaurants, retail, sports fields, a theater and more.
The project will be reviewed by the City Council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards Tuesday before going before the full City Council for final approval Wednesday.
The Washburne Trade School closed down in the ’90s and was demolished a decade ago. For years, the fate of the Chicago Public Schools-owned site remained in limbo.
St. Anthony and North Lawndale-based film studio Cinespace launched competing bids for it. In March, Ald. Mike Rodriguez (22nd), whose ward includes the property, announced he would support St. Anthony’s proposal.
City Council approved the sale of the land in April. Since then, reception from the community has been mixed.
Some residents have argued against the project over fears it will gentrify the area and drive out neighbors. At a November meeting to update the community, protesters interrupted officials involved with the project. However, others said the development is much needed in the community.
“We can now bring much-need community health resources by redeveloping a site that has been empty for decades,” Rodriguez said in statement. “The key here is that our communities benefit from this wonderful project.”
The project is waiting for additional permits before beginning demolition. Construction is expected to begin in 2023 and be complete in 2026.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: