Kicking off at 9:30 this morning, Cook County Commissioners are scheduled for back to back committee meetings to vote on millions in contracts, including new Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) construction, the revamp of the old Cook County Hospital building, and the establishment of an animal abuse registry: 

Labor Committee

A new economic package for county pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, including wage hikes and health care, is the only item on the Labor Committee agenda. The collective bargaining agreement is effective through November 30, 2017, and was negotiated by the Cook County Pharmacy Association, Chicago Joint Board, Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union, AFL-CIO, CLC (RWDSU Local 200).  

Asset Management Committee

Commissioners will vote on a series of county construction contracts totaling $89 million in the Asset Management Committee today. Construction mega-firm F.H. Paschen was listed in several winning contracts totaling about a third of the total allocation, including as part of joint ventures.

Law Enforcement Committee

Commissioner John Fritchey’s ordinance creating a County-wide animal abuser registry is up in Law Enforcement Committee this morning. It creates a registry of animal abusers that will be maintained on the Sheriff’s Department website. No shelter, pet shop, pet seller, or rescue organization would be able to transfer ownership of any animal to someone listed on the offender list, or someone living with an abuser. “It would operate much like the sex offender registry, requiring anyone convicted of any form of animal abuse – including dog fighting, animal torture and aggravated cruelty – to register their names and addresses with the Animal Abuser Registry,” a release from Fritchey’s office says.

Failure to register would result in a fine up to $2,000 dollars. The ordinance would take effect November 1, 2016. Comm. Fritchey has been a frequent critic of the County’s Animal Control agency.

Finance Committee

Commissioners will get details on the proposed massive redevelopment and remediation of the old Cook County Hospital building at County Finance Committee today, as well as a $112 million contract with Clayco for construction of a new CCHHS administrative building, and demolition of three others.

The new nine-story, 282,000 square foot ambulatory and administrative office building is proposed for the corner of West Polk Street and South Damen Avenue.

“When combined, the two developments will create a state-of-the-art medical campus adjacent to a vibrant, mixed-use community,” a release from the county reads.

The new administrative and outpatient building “will allow CCHHS to compete in current and future healthcare markets, improve outpatient services, reduce operating costs, avoid costly capital renewals for obsolete buildings, and increase clinical and administrative efficiency,” the ordinance up today notes. The approval would make way for the demolition of the Fantus Clinic, Polk Administration Building, and Hektoen Auditorium and Office, freeing up 680,000 square feet of County real estate.

The existing agreement with Clayco, one of the Midwest’s biggest contracting companies, will move from the planning and schematic stage to construction into September of 2018. Groundbreaking is anticipated for the first quarter of 2017.

Clayco relocated a major portion of its workforce to Chicago in 2013, and was a backer of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s re-election PAC, Chicago Forward. Community activists calling for the resignation of Mayor Emanuel in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting protested outside Clayco on May 4 “to make sure that people such as Shawn Clark [Clayco’s VP of Finance] and Kevin McKenna [Executive VP and Shareholder] really understands [sic] that supporting Rahm Emanuel will lead to several boycotts at Clayco.” The group also planned a protest of the Mayor’s fundraiser last night, hosted by Robert Wislow, the Chair of USEquities Realty. 

Commissioners will also consider whether to enter into a private redevelopment agreement with Civic Health Development Group (a joint venture development team of MB Real Estate Services, Inc., Walsh Investors, LLC, Plenary Group USA Ltd and Granite Companies LLC) for the rehab of the vacant Cook County Hospital building. Construction of that project would also begin in 2017. More info on the project here.

CHDG will invest approximately $600 million in the redevelopment of the site at no cost to taxpayers, the county says. The renovation is slated to include residential, retail, office and hotel construction inside the building’s existing beaux arts facade. According to the county, CHDG will pay at least $2M in annual rent to the County over the term of the lease.