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Judge Temporarily Blocks Demolition Of Prentice Hospital

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The wrecking ball won't claim the former Prentice Women's Hospital building for at least three more weeks.

A Cook County judge issued an order that bars the city from issuing demolition permits for the Bertrand Goldberg-designed, concrete building, built in the shape of a cloverleaf, at least until the next court hearing on its future, Dec. 7.

Judge Noel Cohen issued his order at the request of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Landmarks Illinois, which filed suit against the city of Chicago, alleging that it skirted the city's landmarks ordinance.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Bob Roberts Reports


Landmark designation hearings, which often can take months, were compressed into a single day during which preliminary landmark status was granted, only to have it stripped away within hours.

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks acted soon after Mayor Rahm Emanuel decided to back Northwestern University's quest to demolish the 37-year-old building and construct a medical research facility in its place.

Northwestern has extensive land holdings in the area, but has insisted to the city that the Prentice site at 333 E. Superior St. is the only one suitable for the new facility.

Goldberg died in 1997. He is best known as the architect of Marina City.

Northwestern is not a party to this suit, and spokesman Alan Cubbage declined Newsradio's request for a comment. City law department spokesman Roderick Drew said the city is "disappointed" with Judge Cohen's decision.

"We will be filing a motion to dismiss this complaint," Drew said. "We are confident that the city and the Landmarks Commission took the appropriate steps and followed the proper procedures."

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