The Chicago Central Area Committee was delighted to participate in the IMD Vision Charette on November 13-15, 2013 at the offices of the Illinois Medical District Commission (IMDC) on Chicago’s Near West Side. The Illinois Medical District (IMD) is a special-use zoning district located just west of downtown Chicago consisting of 560 acres of world-class medical research facilities, labs, universities, a biotech business incubator, and a significant amount of developable area, all with convenient access to public transportation and major expressways.
In 2013, The Illinois Medical DistrictCommission conducted its first-ever strategic plan. Contributing to that strategic plan, the CCAC undertook the IMD Vision Charrette to provide providing creative expertise and strategic counsel on a variety of key initiatives.
The event commenced with an orientation dinner for the panel and key stakeholders on the evening of November 13, and continued with two full days of work. On November 14 panel members were introduced to key stakeholders and provided the opportunity to gather information through a series of briefings. Panel discussions followed the presentations before the panel adjourned for the day. On November 15 the panel split into three working groups and evaluated information received and options available to the IMD to further its goals in areas including:
- District Identity: Coordinating a vision for a “Gateway” on Damen Street from the Blue Line station to Ogden Avenue.
- Transportation/Access: Coordinating with the CTA/CDOT/IDOT and partners to improve both sides of the Eisenhower Expressway in conjunction with the Circle Interchange Project
- Joint Initiatives: Coordinating with stakeholders and IMD partners to develop shared facilities encompassing both real estate development and business perspective.
As the culmination of the charrette, the working groups also came together with the entire panel and from the discussion the panel developed a set of recommendations to present to IMDC executives.
On Tuesday, January 21, 2014, the IMDC resolved to adopt the CCAC’s recommendations for improving the regional, national, and international presence of the Illinois Medical District. IMDC Executive Director Warren Ribley praised CCAC’s efforts, saying, “We are both grateful and impressed with the time, energy and committment that the CCAC volunteers put into understanding the complexities of the IMD and are proud to be partners with the CCAC.” Charette co-chairs Christine Carlyle (Solomon Cordwell Buenz) and Mike Szkatulski (RMC International) represented the CCAC at the meeting and thanked the Commission for its continued partnership.