Former Blue Island hospital up for grabs as the next Chicago Film Studio

The shuttered MetroSouth Medical Center in the South Chicago suburb of Blue Island is tapped to get a new lease on life. The Florida real estate firm that holds ownership is preparing to repurpose the property by marketing it to sell as a film studio or hub for life science research.

Lockwood Partners has hired SVN Chicago Commercial to market the site. Lockwood regained control of the property in 2021 after its conversion plans were upended by the pandemic. As originally reported by Crain’s, the property spans 12.5 acres and includes the 509,000-square-foot former MetroSouth Medical Center that closed in 2019. It also houses a 43,000-square-foot medical office building at 2310 York Street in addition to a parking garage and surface lot with space for 819 vehicles.

Lockwood has been renting the space to film and TV production companies under the brand MetroFilm Studios. Shows for studios including Amazon, HBO and Netflix, have filmed in and around the building. Amid a booming film production industry in Illinois and increasing demand for streaming content, last year film and TV producers spent a record $631 million in the state.

The asking price has not yet been revealed, however Lockwood purchased it for $20 million in March 2020 with plans for a veteran’s housing complex. The state temporarily took control when the pandemic hit, spending about $20 million on renovations in order to treat Covid-19 patients.

Lockwood has been in discussions with an undisclosed partner to convert the entire campus into a film studio. They will also consider a lease for some or all of the campus instead of selling it, according to Chicago-based consultant Dan McNulty, a representative of Lockwood who oversees the property.

Any significant redevelopments to the property would have to be approved by the City of Blue Island as well as City Administrator Tom Wogan who says officials would prefer the property be used for healthcare purposes.

“We have a vested interest in wanting to see the property serve a beneficial role in the community,” Wogan was reported telling the outlet. “We’re hopeful that (its) future involves filling in some of the gaps in health care services that the community lost when the hospital closed.”

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