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Mayor Opines: Let Prentice Building Come Down

Streeterville building has been vacant since 2011

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel has finally opined on the future of the Prentice Women's Hospital Building in Streeterville.

"It is clear that the current building cannot accommodate the groundbreaking research facility that Northwestern needs to build, and I support the decision to rebuild on the site," the mayor said Tuesday in a commentary published in the Chicago Tribune.

Northwestern University wants to demolish the Bertrand Goldberg-designed building, at 333 E. Superior Street, and erect a new medical research facility.

In his opinion, Emanuel said such a structure would "further drive an emerging scientific research hub in the area," sustain jobs and bring in millions of federal dollars.

The Save Prentice Coalition, a group of preservationists who have been campaigning to prevent the building's demolition, said a final decision should be up to the nine members of the Chicago Landmarks Commission.

From a statement on the group's Facebook page:

Prentice is a landmark by any measure and deserves a permanent place in Chicago's skyline. In a letter to Mayor Emanuel, 80 world-renowned architects – half of them from Chicago – wrote that "historic Prentice exceeds the criteria for Chicago landmark designation." The letter goes on to say that a "building this significant – this unique in the world – should be preserved and reused."

The group says promoting cutting-edge research while maintaining history is possible, but "Northwestern has refused even to consider these alternatives."

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) earlier this month said he was "inclined" to support tearing the building down and letting Northwestern rebuild.

Note: This post was originally published on Oct. 30, 2012.

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