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Rehabilitation Institute Moves Ahead With Plans For Old CBS Building Site

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is moving ahead with its plans for a new hospital on the site of the old CBS Building, according to a published report.

Crain's Chicago Business reported this week that the hospital plans to start construction next year on the new facility, which will occupy the site bounded by McClurg Court on the east, Erie Street on the north and Ontario Street on the south.

The hospital is currently located a couple of blocks to the north at 345 E. Superior St., among Northwestern University medical and campus buildings. The current hospital was built in 1974.

Citing an application to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, Crain's reported the hospital plans to increase the size of the hospital by 50 percent, to 272 beds from its current 182.

Crain's reports the hospital had net patient revenue of $155 million last year, and wants state approval to spend $26 million more on planning for the new hospital. A total of $7.5 million have already been spent on preparations, Crain's reported.

If the state approves the plan, the Rehabilitation Institute would file a second application asking to begin construction of the hospital at an estimated total cost of $462 million, Crain's reported.

The new facility will total 690,000 square feet, almost double what the hospital has now, Crain's reported.

The Rehabilitation Institute bought the now-vacant lot at 630 N. McClurg Ct. in December 2009, several months after the old CBS Chicago headquarters were demolished.

The storied building that had stood at the site opened in 1924 as a horse stable, then operated as the Chicago Arena, with an ice skating rink and bowling alley, until CBS purchased the building in the 1950s.

The stations we now call CBS 2, WBBM Newsradio, and B96 began operating from the building in 1956. The building was also the site of the first televised presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon in 1960, and the first-floor CBS 2 newsroom doubled for many years as the famous on-air set, beginning when Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson first became the station's principal anchors in 1973.

WBBM Newsradio and B96 moved to 2 Prudential Plaza in 2006, and CBS 2 left the building for the CBS 2 Broadcast Center at 22 W. Washington St. in 2008. The building was demolished in early 2009.

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