Northwestern Medicine is eyeing vacant property in Bronzeville's Grand Boulevard community for a new facility that will bring outpatient care to Chicago's South Side. The proposed 100,000-square-foot building would occupy the land at the southwest corner of East 48th Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue.

"This is not going to be a small clinic," said Northwestern's Rob Christie Wednesday at a virtual meeting of the Grand Boulevard Advisory Council. "This will be a medical hub that will enable patients who live in the [Bronzeville] community to access care closer to home. Healthcare is moving away from an in-patient setting into an out-patient setting, and that is what this facility will provide." 

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The building will offer a wide array of healthcare services including immediate care, primary, specialty care such as cardiology, x-ray, mammogram, OB ultrasound, dermatology, behavioral/mental health, and a cancer center. The project is expected to create 1,000 construction jobs over two years as well as 100 permanent jobs. The plan also includes 5,000 square feet of retail space for local businesses and 10,000 square feet of new community space.

Chicago-based firms Brook Architecture and Lamar Johnson Collaborative are in the process of designing the Bronzeville facility so no detailed renderings were available at the meeting. A rough massing diagram did show a four-story Medical Office Building (MOB) on the north end of the site and an above-ground garage with 250 parking spaces to the south. 

"This massing can change based on the feedback we receive," said Charles Cloutier, director of planning and construction with Northwestern Medicine. "The parking component will look like the rest of the building and not an exposed concrete structure on the side of the outpatient care building. We have done this successfully in several other projects and plan to do it here because it is also our goal for an aesthetically pleasing project." 

Northwestern has acquired the parcel at the southwest corner of Cottage Grove and 48th Street and will soon close on a second piece of privately-owned land. The development team will also need to acquire the "middle" portion of land from the city of Chicago, and "that process is just beginning," according to Northwestern's Gina Weldy.

The design, land acquisition, zoning, and permitting process is expected to take between 12 and 18 months to complete. Once the facility does break ground, construction will take another 18 months, according to Cloutier.

Northwestern Medicine recently began construction on a small outpatient facility in Chicago's Lincoln Square community. The healthcare provider is also preparing to break ground on a 150,000-square-foot project in Old Irving Park within the next few weeks.