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Local News

Old Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet to be torn down by May

JOLIET – The old Silver Cross Hospital is slated to be torn down by May, according to plans to redevelop the property.

Silver Cross Hospital, now in New Lenox, announced the redevelopment plans earlier this month.

Demolition of the hospital building, a 552,000-square-foot facility licensed for 304 beds, could begin by October. It’s a nine-month project.

Spokeswoman Tracy Simons said hospital officials decided it was more likely to redevelop the Joliet campus without the hospital there than with it on the property.

“We moved five years ago. In that time, there’s been a lot of redevelopment in that area,” Simons said. “But there hasn’t been a lot of interest in the old hospital building. ... We’ve tried everything, but there’s no interest.”

Much of the redevelopment has occurred on Silver Cross’ old Joliet campus, but most of it has involved the use of available space to build new facilities.

Volunteers of America of Illinois this summer completed a 67-unit apartment complex providing affordable housing for veterans. Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center built its East Joliet Community Health Center on the Silver Cross campus. Silver Cross donated land for both projects.

CN tore down a former Silver Cross office building to expand its railroad and intermodal operations near the former hospital.

The Veterans Affairs health clinic built out of redeveloped space from the hospital emergency room is the one new development on the campus that used existing building space.

But the emergency room was a new section of the hospital built to modernize the operation.

The VA health clinic space will stay when the hospital comes down. So will the Specialty Care Pavilion, which was built in 1998 as an addition to the hospital and is considered more marketable because it is newer.

“We’re hoping once all the other buildings come down that will be more marketable,” Simons said.

Fencing has been put up. Salvage work has begun inside the old Medical Arts Building to remove copper and other materials that can be sold.

External demolition is slated to start in October and to be completed in May.

Brandenburg Industrial Service Co. has been hired for the demolition. Silver Cross noted in a news release that Brandenburg has done large demolition projects at other hospitals, including Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago.

The city of Joliet opposed Silver Cross Hospital’s move to New Lenox.

But the city now is working on a plan for a tax increment financing district, which would provide incentives to attract development to the site.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk in the news release announcing the plan said the “campus-like environment” would be suitable for mixed-use development.

In the interim, Silver Cross plans to follow demolition by laying down top soil and planting grass.

“It will look nice,” Simons said.

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