Cook County Judge Neil Cohen has granted Bertand Goldberg’s Prentice Woman’s Hospital a temporary reprieve after preservationist filed a lawsuit against the city and the Chicago Commission on Public Landmarks yesterday afternoon. Plaintiffs, Landmarks Illinois and the National Trust for Historic Preservation claim that the commission “acted arbitrarily and exceeded its authority,” after granting and subsequently revoking Prentice landmark status in just a short afternoon on November 1. These proceedings, which typically takes months, followed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to publicly support Northwestern University’s plan to demolish the vacant icon.
More after the break…
According to the Chicago Tribune, Judge Cohen believes the public’s interest would be harmed if the building was demolished before the merits of the lawsuit were fully considered. Suspicions questioning the legality of the rushed proceedings will be considered, along with claim that the commission exceeded its bounds by basing the decision on economic-impact issues that, according to law, are supposed to be considered by the City Council.
“We’re going to do no harm to Prentice while this can be resolved,” Cohen said. The next hearing is Dec. 7.
In the meantime, the Chicago Architecture Foundation has opened Reconsidering an Icon: Creative Conversations About Prentice Women’s Hospital, which features 71 proposals for reuse of the building, all compliant with Northwestern’s biomedical research requirements. The exhibition will conclude in February.