Good wishes were abundant at the groundbreaking for the Lincoln Common, the development slated for the former site of Children's Memorial Hospital.
"Thank you to residents whose interest in the project brought support and opposition," said Dan McCaffery of McCaffery Interests, which is building the new development with Hines Company. "But we refined the project, and everyone is going to be very, very proud of this." he said in his welcoming remarks. Jim Walsh of Hines said the company "is honored to be involved and to partner with McCaffery in the unique opportunity."
The event took place on the top floor of the parking lot across the street from the original Children's Memorial Hospital. Dignitaries dipped shovels into a trough of dirt that will be carried across to the site of the new development. Among the dignitaries was Mayor Rahm Emanuel who spoke emotionally about his own seven-week stay at Children's Memorial as a child." As CMH comes down and the new Lincoln Common goes up, there is tribute to what Children's does for the community," he said, adding that the Lincoln Common "continues Lincoln Park's longstanding legacy of community innovation, partnership, and investment."
Alderman Michele Smith said "The Lincoln Common will be the new crossroads for Lincoln Park with its historic buildings and the new ones. The development promises to provide a vital economic anchor in the heart of our neighborhood."
Pat Magoon, CEO of Children's Memorial successor, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, expressed pride in the 131-year-history of the children's hospital. "People came to Children's Memorial with hope, and so many families came to pay tribute to that hope." Magoon thanked the community "for helping us to be a better neighbor."
LCA President Kenneth Dotson praised the team at Hines|McCaffery and their contractor W.E. O'Neil, for their handling of the demolition saying, "I have been genuinely impressed by their thoughtfulness and respect for our neighborhood. They have communicated openly and transparently to the neighborhood."
The new complex will include 540 rental units, some of them low income; 60 low-rise condominiums; retail space; and an acre of open space available to the public.