Updated: Nov. 19 at 8:01 p.m.
After obtaining permission for the demolition of Prentice Women’s Hospital at the beginning of November, University efforts were blocked again today by a Cook County judge who issued a temporary stay on demolition that granted the building temporary landmark status.
The hospital, owned by Northwestern University, has been at the heart of a struggle between the school and preservationists for several months. NU hopes to replace the abandoned building with a modern research facility, a proposal that garnered the support of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and angered preservationists who hoped to refit the building for new use.
Originally, the Chicago Commission on Landmarks granted landmark status to this historic building – designed by Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg – then proceeded to revoke it after hearing the economic impact of such a designation.
However, during a hearing over a lawsuit filed by preservationists over this decision, the judge blocked any further action while the validity of the landmark designation process is investigated. No demolition permits may be issued by the city of Chicago until the second hearing on December 7.
Vice President of University Relations, Al Cubbage, offered no comment on behalf of the university, saying that since Northwestern is "not a party to that lawsuit" it would be "inappropriate" to comment.