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Statement by Eugene S. Sunshine

Senior vice president comments on Mayor Emanuel's support on former Prentice issue

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October 30, 2012

We’re very pleased to learn that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is supporting Northwestern University’s position not to grant landmark status to the former Prentice Women’s Hospital on Northwestern’s Chicago campus. We are planning to present our case to the Chicago Commission on Landmarks Thursday, Nov. 1, and we hope to convince the commissioners to also support that position.

Forcing Northwestern to preserve an outdated building that does not meet the University’s needs would have a significant detrimental impact not just on Northwestern, but also on the Chicago metropolitan area. Northwestern plans to build a new, state-of-the-art biomedical research facility on that site. Doing so will create approximately 2,500 construction jobs and 2,000 full-time jobs, have an annual economic impact of nearly $400 million and make Chicago a global leader in medical science.

The new building on the Prentice site would be connected on a floor-by-floor basis with the existing University research building just to the west of the site. Doing so will bring researchers together and thereby enhance the chances of finding breakthroughs in cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders, among others. The site is the linchpin for the University’s planned research complex.

Northwestern plans to conduct a design competition, starting in 2013, for the new biomedical research facility. The University will invite many of the world’s best architectural firms with substantial accomplishments in designing biomedical research or similar buildings to submit expressions of interest and statements of qualifications.

The University also will maintain its partnerships with the city and the Streeterville community on ways that Northwestern can continue to benefit the neighborhood and the University’s students, faculty and staff on our Chicago campus.

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Following are reactions from others who have supported Northwestern’s position in regard to landmarking the former Prentice building.

Tom Villanova, President, Chicago and Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council

"We are now one step closer to a large construction project that will benefit the city of Chicago by creating jobs, boosting the local economy and creating cures for the world. This is the right decision for Chicago’s workers, the city of Chicago and Chicago’s future."

Jeff Case, Principal, Holabird & Root Architects

"Chicago has a proud tradition of creating, maintaining and preserving some of the world’s greatest pieces of architecture, and we will continue to do so. Mayor Emanuel made the right decision in choosing not to landmark this building, as it does not meet the high standards this world-class city has for architectural utilization and preservation given the compelling alternative use the owner has for the site."

Mable Buckner, Executive Director, Streeterville Chamber of Commerce

"We are thankful that the Mayor recognized the importance of the new medical research facility to not only the city, but also to the neighborhood of Streeterville.  Northwestern University and Northwestern Memorial Hospital and their affiliated institutions are huge economic drivers for the city of Chicago and leaders in medical research advances in the world."

Jorge Ramirez, President, Chicago Federation of Labor

"We applaud Mayor Emanuel's decision to support Northwestern's plan to build a state of the art research facility on the site of the former Prentice Women's Hospital. This project will have a significant impact on our community by creating thousands of jobs for working men and women and bringing hundreds of millions of dollars in investment to our regional economy."

John Chikow, President and CEO, Greater North Michigan Avenue Association

"The Greater North Michigan Avenue Association supports Mayor Emanuel and Alderman Reilly for recognizing the contribution the new research facility will make to not only the City of Chicago, in thousands of jobs and more than $400 million in annual economic impact, but to the field of medical research and the lives of millions."