Demo Crews Lining up to Tear Down Michael Reese Hospital

June 10, 2009

More than 20 companies showed off their qualifications for the city of Chicago. They're all vying to tear down the old Michael Reese Hospital to clear the way for an Olympic Village, should the city win the 2016 Games. The Public Building Commission found 12 of those businesses were qualified, and cleared the way for them to bid on the demolition. There was one name that immediately stood out: Heneghan Wrecking ("We Make Space.") It's a familiar name to anyone who's seen the big crew around downtown. A broken window on the Michael Reese campus. But it 's intimately familiar to preservationists trying to save some of the buildings at Reese.‚  Heneghan's the same crew the hospital hired to remove the loose contents of the buildings, according to court records. And the same outfit that reportedly removed some of these items by throwing them out broken windows. Urban Remains had contracted with Heneghan's to salvage its pick of the mid-century modern furniture -- great brands like Herman Miller and Thonet.‚  The owner of the store said there was a lot of miscommunication about what they were allowed to take at first - the crews thought they had carte blanche. There were some items removed that shouldn't have been, like the Michael Reese statue and sconces. Following an outcry over the historic items, they were returned and are in "safe hands." The contract - again,‚  in court records - gave Heneghan's approval to "remove and dispose of all the loose personal items, desks,‚  chairs, tables, file cabinets, etc. and other non building fixtures from all of the buildings at The Michael Reese Chicago Campus....all scrap and other salvage is property of Heneghan Wrecking Co. outside of the medical equipment."
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