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Uptown Development On Former Weiss Hospital Lot Breaks Ground After Protesters Ousted From Site

Crews broke ground on a 12-story apartment development following an 11-day occupation of the site by housing activists and a campaign to block the project.

Crews break ground at the former Weiss Hospital parking lot set to be turned into over 300 apartments.
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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UPTOWN — The redevelopment of a former Weiss Hospital parking lot into apartments is underway, effectively ending a fierce campaign among neighbors, activists and some City Council members to thwart the project.

Crews for Lincoln Property Company broke ground this week on the former parking lot at Wilson Avenue and Marine Drive. The work comes nearly two years after the project was announced and follows an 11-day occupation of the development site by activists opposed to the plan.

The protesters were removed from the parking lot Aug. 31, when three people occupying the site were arrested and cited for trespassing. The following day, the city granted Lincoln Property Company a permit to begin construction on the building’s foundation, city records show.

A permit to allow a tower crane at the development site was issued Wednesday, records show.

Lincoln Property Company, a national development firm, plans to build a 12-story apartment complex with more than 300 units, 136 parking spaces, bike parking and a green rooftop.

Lincoln Property representatives previously said the project would include 314 units, but permits show the building is set to have 303 units. A spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
Ronald Schupp sits on the Wilson Avenue sidewalk after the protesters occupying the development site were removed Wednesday.

The building will have eight affordable units, the minimum required under the affordable requirements ordinance in place when it was approved. To satisfy its remaining affordability requirement, Lincoln paid $3.1 million to help fund nonprofit Sarah’s Circle’s Uptown housing development for women facing homelessness.

City laws on affordable requirements have been strengthened since the project was approved.

Weiss Hospital sold the parking lot to Lincoln Property, saying the $8 million profit would be invested into the hospital for upgrades and new services.

That would be on top of other recent investments made into the community hospital, its owners at the time said.

But Weiss’ owners sold the hospital after selling the parking lot. The ownership group pledged to reimburse the new owners the $8 million from the parking lot sale.

In occupying the former parking lot, activists called on Weiss’ new owner to use the reimbursement to buy back the lot for future hospital expansion. In a meeting with neighbors, Weiss’ new owner said he could not compel Lincoln to sell the property and the $8 million would be better spent on the existing hospital complex.

Credit: Chicago Department of Planning & Development
The facade of the Weiss Hospital parking lot development facing Wilson Avenue.

In a last-ditch effort to block the project, opponents of the development held a news conference Tuesday to demand city officials revoke the permits issued and deny future permits for the development.

Those at the press conference include 46th Ward aldermanic candidates Angela Clay and Marianne Lalonde and Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th).

Sigcho-Lopez said the development expands “luxury housing … at the expense of the neighborhood” and called on the city to make a greater investment in affordable housing.

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