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Preservationists File Lawsuit To Overturn Landmarks Commission's Decision On Historic Prentice Women's Hospital [UPDATE]

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 15, 2012 7:30PM

Photo credit: Randy Plemel, Jr.

The battle for Historic Prentice Women's Hospital isn't over. The Save Prentice Coalition filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court today seeking to overturn the Commission on Chicago Landmarks' Nov. 1 decision denying landmark status for the Bertrand Goldberg-designed building. (If the embed isn't working, read the full lawsuit here.)

The suit slams the meeting as being "pre-orchestrated in a manner designed to deny interested members of the public the opportunity to participate in a public hearing and to be meaningfully involved in the landmark recommendation process, to preclude consideration of the recommendation by the City Council in accordance with the specified procedures set forth in the (Landmarks) Ordinance, and to otherwise circumvent the Ordinance's plain language and intent to foster historic preservation." During the six-hour meeting the Landmarks Commission granted preliminary landmark status to Historic Prentice, heard testimony from proponents of and opponents to preservation, then voted 8-1 on denying landmark status to the building.

Michael Rachlis, the attorney representing the coalition, said the manner in which the Landmarks Commission made their decision was unlawful under the Landmarks Ordinance and that "by any measure, Prentice deserves landmark status." Calls to Northwestern University for comment on the lawsuit have not been returned as of post time.

Update: 3 p.m. Northwestern spokesman Alan Cubbage said the university has no comment, since it doesn't involve them. We also have a request for comment with the Landmarks Commission.

update 3:40 p.m.: Cook County Judge Neil Cohen granted temporary landmark status to Historic Prentice. “We’re going to do no harm to Prentice while this can be resolved.’’ Cohen said. The next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 7.

Save Prentice Coalition Lawsuit