On the Illinois Medical District’s west side, construction workers at the $300 million IMD Gateway project have not missed a beat—even during coronavirus sheltering.
Construction workers, who have what government officials consider essential jobs, are building the next phase of the district’s western entry. They are erecting stores, offices, laboratories, housing, and a Hilton-related hotel on a 9.5 acre site bordered by Harrison Street on the north and Ogden Avenue on the east.
“The retail corridor has opened in recent months,” said Ryan Gage, spokesperson for the Illinois Medical District Commission, which oversees Gateway. So far, shops include Starbucks, Jimmy John’s, Chipotle, an AT&T retailer, and Eye Q Optical.
“The good news is that Chipotle and Jimmy John’s are still open and providing food to the essential workers at the Medical District,” according to Eileen Rhodes, president of East Lake Management Group, one of the developers. Starbucks also has reopened. All three provide carry-out only and no sit-down service.
“We have a couple more retail tenants that we’re talking to about space in the retail center, but we can’t announce them just yet,” Rhodes said.
Gage said all that remains for the retail phase is finishing work on landscaping and parking lots.
As crews continue previous activity, they also are preparing the ground for the next phase. “We are still working on the design and permitting for the hotel and residential building,” Rhodes said. “No major changes to those buildings.”
Gage said current efforts are simply continuing work on “establishing a life sciences hub.” Workers broke ground for Gateway in December 2016, with construction begun in 2017.
In addition to Gateway, Medical District officials and commissioners are busy marketing vacant land in the district’s southern portion, mainly south of Roosevelt Road, he added.
Crews also are working on a new outpatient care facility for Rush Medical Center on the north side of Harrison, east of Ashland Avenue. The site formerly held student housing.
Officials advise those going to any of the construction sites to keep out of the way of workers and vehicles, stay six feet away from them, and wear a mask. For the most part, crews are working in areas fenced and covered by green screens.
For the Illinois Medical District, call (312) 738-5800 or log on to medicaldistrict.org. To contact Gateway developers, log on to eastlakemgmt.com or call (312) 842-5500. To contact County Hospital developers, log on to harrisonsquarechicago.com or call (312) 625-3120.
—Susan S. Stevens