Should Steeterville’s Prentice Women’s Hospital Be Destroyed?

Many Chicagoans interested in architecture and real estate already know that Northwestern University hopes to tear down the old Prentice Women’s Hospital in Streeterville. The hospital, which was designed by celebrated mid-century architect Bertrand Goldberg nearly fifty years ago.

Northwestern University purchased the building a few years ago, hoping to convert it into a modern research facility, and it quickly determined that the long corridors and low lines of the hospital would be unsuitable for such a facility.

But the hospital is an excellent example of mid-century architecture and modern design, and many preservations hope to deter Northwestern University from demolishing the building.

Among them is the Chicago Sun-Times real estate reporter David Roeder. Roeder believes that Northwestern University ought to be able to build a sufficiently up-to-date medical facility without tearing down the old Prentice Women’s Hospital in the process.

According to Roeder, “Immediately south of Prentice is an empty city block, suitable for any pressing need of the university.”

“The land,” Roeder notes, “Is under the control of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Northwestern the university and Northwestern the hospital are separate, but the medical school’s faculty practices at the hospital, and the institutions have more than a working relationship.

“The university has a need and the hospital has land it is not using. They need to work out a trade.”

“Instead, Roeder continues, “Northwestern University wants to tear down Prentice and create another vacant parcel while it raises funds to build something taller in its place.”

“I wouldn’t call that greedy, but it seems careless. Money and land are assets. Somebody should get the school and the hospital together to coordinate their assets in Streeterville the way good stewards should.”

Roeder’s suggestion is certainly an intriguing one, but it remains to be seen whether the university and the hospital might be capable of, or interested in, making a trade.

To read the rest of Roeder’s article, visit the Chicago Sun-Times website here. Or, to read more about the history of the old Prentice Women’s Hospital, check out this article on the CondoDomain blog!

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