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One of the great development battles in recent Oak Park history was over the construction of the medical office building adjacent to Rush Oak Park Hospital. Many neighbors vehemently opposed the project and its 135,000-square-foot heft. They felt it needlessly intruded down Maple Avenue into their residential community.
The argument went full tilt and, in the Oak Park way, resulted in delays and long, full-throated public hearings. The ultimate result was village-government approval of a project that the then-wobbly hospital insisted was vital to its immediate and long-term vitality. Along the way, neighbors won some points as the building was reoriented to lessen its perceived mass and some buffering landscaping was added.
We raise this point now because that property has just been sold to Arizona-based REIT for a cool $54 million. We'd note that the hospital, which maintains a master lease on the building for several more years, is stronger than it has been in a long while. And we'd point out that the residential neighborhood which surrounds the hospital is vital and active.
There is the impulse toward NIMBY-ism. Mostly, local history tells us it is overwrought and that history ought to be a caution each time such an issue inevitably arises.