How should Chicago use ‘once in a generation’ chance to redevelop Michael Reese site?

CHICAGO -- Two months after the Olympics for which it was to be the athlete’s village, the vacant site of Michael Reese Hospital is finally headed toward redevelopment.

The City of Chicago will request proposals from developers beginning next week for the 49 acres in Bronzeville that have sat vacant since 2009.

Mayor Daley had the city buy the 6.5 million square-feet of property as part of the bid process for the 2016 Summer Olympics, which of course, were awarded to Rio de Janeiro. The $91 million dollar loan used for the purchase carries another $50 million in potential interest cost.

So Mayor Emanuel is opening the property to plans that could mean more than 3,000 construction and permanent jobs. The project could include a casino.

Emanuel calls the chance to redevelop the property, with lake views on the near South side, a once in a generation opportunity and a win-win situation for the city and investors.

Final submissions are due in February 2017, and a developer could be selected later that spring.