Northwestern Medicine is developing and opening multiple properties around its hospital in the small suburb of Winfield, Illinois:
The once-blighted corner now boasts a $38.8 million medical office building designed to anchor the redevelopment of Winfield’s Town Center…
The health system also has built a parking garage and amenities in Riverwalk Park since forming an agreement with the village to inject new life into Winfield’s small-town downtown. Northwestern has set aside commercial and restaurant space on the ground floor of both the parking deck and the medical office building…
Winfield Station, a five-story apartment complex, is almost fully leased, Sorgatz said.
The site that once housed John’s Tavern is available for development directly west of the medical office building. The restaurant owner closed the business in 2017 after deciding to retire. Northwestern purchased the property.
The hospital and the town have not always seen eye to eye.
This story highlights the potential for a hospital to drive redevelopment. The hospital has money, nearby property is available. The new projects can theoretically benefit everyone: the hospital needs space, the village has property that would benefit from new buildings, the municipality can get more tax revenues, community members could hold jobs.
Bigger question: should hospitals drive development and redevelopment? There is a lot of money in health care, they provide employment, and they are often a long-term presence. Numerous communities in the United States have long-standing facilities that drive activity and local status. How many communities, cities, suburbs, or more small towns can happily connect in public-private partnerships involving hospitals?