Judge Rules With City On Historic Prentice Women's Hospital Demolition

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 11, 2013 8:45PM

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Photo credit: Randy Plemel, Jr.

A Cook County judge refused to overturn a November decision by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to not grant landmark status to Historic Prentice Women’s Hospital but provided preservationists with another glimmer of hope to hold off the building’s destruction.

Judge Neil Cohen left in place an order preventing Northwestern University from moving forward with the demolition of the Bertrand Goldberg-designed building for another 30 days, which will give the National Trust for Historic Preservation time to file an amended complaint arguing to save the building.

Northwestern and preservationists led by the Save Prentice Coalition have been fighting over Historic Prentice’s future for months. The university wants to tear down the structure in order to build a state of the art biomedical research facility they, local business groups and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have said would be a jobs creator for the city. Preservationists argue the existing structure can be co-opted and rehabbed to fit the university’s needs while still creating jobs, and have submitted numerous proposals from architecture firms showing how this can be accomplished.

Northwestern released a statement from Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Eugene S. Sunshine praising the ruling and repeating the university’s intent that it will host an open competition to find the architect to design the new facility.

Cohen granted temporary landmark status to Prentice Nov. 15 after preservationists filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Landmarks Commission’s Nov. 1 decision to not grant landmark status to the building.