A symbiotic relationship between the Chicago Housing Authority and Mt. Sinai Hospital Medical Center could mean more jobs and housing for CHA residents, as well as a new hospital building for Mt. Sinai.
CHA Senior Vice President of Development Management, John Gerut, underscored the benefit of extending a land lease agreement CHA has with Mt. Sinai as he addressed CHA commissioners and a small audience Wednesday.
The lease is for a parking lot located on vacant CHA land that was once the Lawndale Complex residential development.
Mt. Sinai built, and maintains, the parking lot for its employees, Gerut told commissioners. Gerut said the hospital invested over $1.2 million for draining, grading, asphalt work, and landscaping work to improve the lot.
Gerut said the lot provides 175 parking spaces for Mt. Sinai employees, which reduces neighborhood congestion, a benefit for future Park Douglas residents.
Park Douglas is a 60-unit mixed-income residential development being built across from the parking lot.
The lease extension is merely one part of a more elaborate “swap” plan, said CHA Executive Vice President of Development, Bill Little, to the commissioners.
In return for the CHA land Mt. Sinai is leasing, CHA will get Sinai land to the south in the swap, said Little, but he gave no further details of what the exchange will entail.
In an interview, Jesse Green, project director of Sinai Health System, further explained the complicated nature of the “swap.”
Mt. Sinai is trading 2 parcels – a parking lot and a client facility it offers its critical care and food services out of at California Avenue and 15th Street – for the CHA land at the Lawndale Complex and Ogden Courts, said Green.
Both the parking lot and the client facility that is called the Kurtzon Building will come down.
“Those parcels have a park frontage that’s more appropriate for a residential development as opposed to CHA’s which has industrial frontage,” Green said. “So once we swap Ogden Courts land for the parking lot and the North Lawndale Complex for the Kurtzon Building, that will complete the swap.”
CHA will build a facility where the Kurtzon building currently stands for both sale and rental residential units, said Green, while at the North Lawndale Complex and Ogden Courts, Mt. Sinai will build a new hospital it is currently raising funds for.
The leased parking lot is one aspect of the swap agreement.
But Gerut emphasized more than just the real estate logistics of the extended lease.
“Mt. Sinai provides important services and is a key economic engine to the community,” Gerut told commissioners. “Mt. Sinai has an established relationship with CHA with respect to hiring where Sinai provides notices to CHA of job openings, which are then forwarded to the Family Works providers.”