Submitted by guest blogger Patricia Joseph
Park West members joined with neighbors from other community associations to review and comment on the conceptual plans for the Children’s Memorial Hospital site at a Town Hall Meeting on December 14, 2011 at the Hospital’s Bigler Auditorium.
Alderman Smith kicked off the presentation, stressing that the neighborhood is behind a development that will serve as a crossroads for the community and be award winning in its design. This was the second community communications meeting, covering the “conceptual plan” for the CMH property. With the Hospital moving to its new digs in June, 2012, the pressure is on to come up with a plan for the site so that work can begin late in 2012.
Dan McCaffery, Chairman and CEO of McCaffery Interests, and Joe Antunovich of Antunovich Associates, presented the plan that focused on two floors of retail from Belden to Fullerton on Lincoln Avenue. The emphasis was on creating a lively street level presence with residential space above the retail rising to between 16 and 20 stories.
An interior courtyard accessed from Lincoln was also part of the plan as it is envisioned today.
The intent is to retain and repurpose the vintage buildings along Lincoln, opening up the boiler building, laundry and the terra cotta building that currently houses the White Elephant Shop on Lincoln, to new retail space. Other vintage buildings that are part of the complex, the Wilson Jones building on Orchard south of Fullerton and Nellie Black on corner of Fullerton and Orchard would be developed separately.
Green roofs, a public meeting space, and rooftop gardens are other amenities included in the plan.
While this presentation covered the ideas and concepts that might be ideal for the community and redevelopment of the site, it was stressed that lining up commitments from retailers and financing was key to moving forward with this idea.
A PDF of the presentation is posted on the Alderman’s website http://ward43.org and/or you can access segments of the meeting on the Alderman’s YouTube channel.