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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Controversial St. Anthony Hospital Development Approved By City Council

Some residents worry that the new development at 31st and Kedzie, which will include affordable housing, a vocational center, day care and more, will price out longtime neighbors.

A rendering of the Focal Point Development at 31st Street and Kedzie Avenue. The complex will include St. Anthony Hospital.
City of Chicago
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LITTLE VILLAGE — The Southwest Side development anchored by St. Anthony Hospital passed the City Council Wednesday.

The 30-acre Focal Point Community Campus includes the new hospital, vocational school, day care, public market, affordable housing, restaurants, retail, sports fields, a theater and more at the former Washburne Trade School site at 31st Street and Kedzie Avenue.

The Chicago Plan Commission approved the plans last week, and the City Council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building endorsed the project Tuesday.

Nonprofit Chicago Southwest Development Corp is managing the project.

“We started this project about 10 years ago and it’s been the hardest journey I’ve ever taken in my career,” Guy A. Medaglia, the nonprofit’s CEO, said in a statement Wednesday. “I’m thrilled about the support this project has received from the community, our elected officials and even from individuals outside the state. I’m really looking forward to breaking ground and really getting started for the community.”

Credit: Focal Point
An overview of the Focal Point Community Campus project.

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 2021, Ald. Mike Rodriguez (22nd), whose ward includes the property, announced he would support St. Anthony’s proposal.

RELATED: Cinespace And St. Anthony Hospital Compete To Buy Former Washburne Trade Center Site From CPS

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.

“The hospital has been in our community for several generations, it provides significant amounts of charity care to our most vulnerable residents,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “The development will benefit the southwest side of Chicago as supported by an overwhelming number of residents and stakeholders who have testified in its support. I look forward to continued engagement with our community as this project moves forward over the next several years.”

The project is waiting for additional permits before beginning demolition. Construction is expected to begin in 2023 and wrap by 2026.

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