August 28, 2012
The Honorable Rahm Emanuel
City of Chicago
121 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602
Dear Mayor Emanuel:
As we believe you are aware, Northwestern University is planning to begin the construction of its new $350 million medical research facility on the site of the old Prentice hospital. This new facility was approved as part of the Planned Unit Development for the Northwestern medical facilities and it's estimated to create more than 2,000 long-term, highly skilled jobs. As you know, Northwestern attracts over $350 million a year in biomedical research grants and expects this facility to bring another $150 million in additional grant support. In addition, this building will be constructed adjacent to Northwestern’s current research facility as to allow for the combination of their efforts. Importantly, this medical research facility will also house the research efforts of the Lurie Children’s Hospital, one of the principal reasons that the new facility was located adjacent to the Northwestern medical facilities.
Obviously, the construction of this new facility is of great importance to our city and the health of its population. However, it has come to our attention that there is an effort to prevent the demolition of the old Prentice hospital building and preserve it as a National Historic Landmark. While we are often in sympathy with such efforts, we believe that the Prentice site is clearly not the best example of Bertrand Goldberg’s work and that the highest and best use of the site at this time would be the construction of the new medical research facility.
Making Chicago one of the nation’s major hubs for biomedical research is an important goal for all of us. The construction of this facility is an important step toward achieving this goal. In addition, expanding research to try to find cures for today’s major diseases is also a critical mission. Construction of this new facility in its planned location will allow us to move closer to attaining both of these goals, as well as create needed jobs in the present and the future.
In balancing the competing interests involved, we would urge you to determine the old Prentice hospital should not receive landmark status and the demolition should be allowed to proceed.
Thank you for your consideration in this very important matter.
John W. Rogers, Jr.
Chairman, CEO and Chief Investment Officer
Charlie K. Bobrinskoy
Vice Chairman, Director of Research