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Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization

Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization

August 24, 2012

The Honorable Rahm Emanuel
Mayor, City of Chicago

Dear Mayor Emanuel:

On behalf of iBIO, I am writing to strongly support Northwestern University's plans to build a new medical research facility on the site where the old Prentice Women’s Hospital is located.

By way of introduction, iBIO’s mission is to make this region one of the top biotech centers on the planet. Our membership provides hundreds of thousands of directly and indirectly created jobs—many of them in Chicago and the greater Chicago region—and generates global exports of medical, bio-industrial and agricultural products.

Biomedical discoveries are crucial in eliminating diseases for which we currently have no answers. Economically, It’s worth noting that the National Academies of Science have consistently encouraged investments in basic research as a “primary leverage point” for maintaining America’s leadership in innovation. Construction of a new medical research building at the old Prentice location will attract to Chicago an additional $150 million a year in grant research money and create 2,000 new jobs here.

It’s my understanding that architectural preservationists are opposing this vital work in order to grant landmark status to the old Prentice Women’s Hospital building, a structure that can no longer accommodate its original purpose nor house the proposed facilities. While nostalgia for intriguing architectural examples is understandable, certainly saving lives and building our economy have higher priority as civic concerns.

I therefore request that the city of Chicago not give landmark status to the old Prentice Women’s Hospital building and instead approve Northwestern’s pending request for demolition of that building. I am of course available to you or your staff for any questions regarding this matter.

With best regards,

David E. Miller
President and CEO