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Inside America's Biggest Medical District

Chicago Mixed-Use

The Illinois Medical District Commission just approved a $300M, 1.2M SF mixed-use development that will reinvigorate the 560-acre medical district, the largest in the country. (It's the fiscal equivalent of Nicolas Cage injecting atropine into his heart in The Rock.)

Assembling The Team


Savills Studley’s Eric Feinberg (above right) repped the IMDC and gave us an inside look at the process. The proposed 10-acre IMD Gateway (2020 Ogden) has housing, hotel, parking, medical office, and amenities that IMD stakeholders (Rush, UIC, VA Medical Center, Stroger, etc.) desperately need, Eric says. After an initial plan with Higgins Development Partners fell through, the district issued another RFP in January. It chose IMD Gateway Partners, which includes Higgins, East Lake Development (Elzie Higginbottom), Thomas Samuels Enterprises, and Isiah Real Estate (NBA star Isiah Thomas). Its economic package includes Harrison Street as 90% capital partner.

What’s Next


The development team’s plan (above) includes: a 225-room hotel, 92k SF of retail, 200 rentals for young professionals and students, 224k SF of standard multifamily, 100k SF of lab space, 88k SF of MOB, parking, and 40k SF of urban farm greenhouses. The due diligence process will be followed by strategic marketing to lure top tenants, and construction should kick off in spring 2015, Eric says. Leasing shouldn’t be an issue, he adds, given the Illinois Medical District’s 50,000 daily patients and 30,000 employees, who until now had few options to go out for lunch or have a beer after work.

Creating An Ecosystem


With IMD Gateway’s momentum, development should surge in the district, Eric predicts. The CTA is redoing its IMD stop next year, and IMD Gateway should become a connection point from the district to the other side of 290, with Malcolm X College and the United Center’s own flurry of groundbreakings, he tells us. (Its parking and dining options will be clutch for Bulls games, above.) Residential development is the key first step to attract destination retail, Eric says, but other fun stuff like the city’s first “vertiport” (for private helicopters, or Marine One) is nothing but good news for the hot submarket. Eric is looking forward to visiting his East Coast family later this summer.