By. Chris Stritzel
For decades, the prominent Pruitt-Igoe Urban Forest (former home to the public housing project) sat vacant and overgrown. That is why it was called the urban forest. Now, nearly completely cleared off, Paul McKee's Northside Regeneration project could finally become a reality, in a way. The planned development for this lot you may ask? A $350 Million+ development known as Healthworks Village. It will consist of two hotels, hospitals and some office space when construction is supposed to be completed in 2025.
Currently, construction is beginning on the first phase of the project, a Urgent Care hospital, which will be built where Dickson Street used to run through the project. Also part of this phase is the laying of foundations for future development, such as streets and underground infrastructure so that construction can commence on the remainder of the project accordingly. The Urgent Care facility will have only three beds for overnight stays as well as small rooms for less major cases. It will basically be a "MICRO Hospital". The Urgent Care facility will be, in no way, like the planned Micro Hospital at 15th and Locust.
As the more than $1.5 Billion NGA project is wrapping up it's site preparation work, the future of the Pruitt-Igoe site has been in question ever since Paul McKee took it over earlier this year. When he took it over, McKee labeled it as "the crown jewel" of Northside Regeneration. Why? Because of the facilities it will bring to the Northside if the city. Healthworks Village will also complement the NGA development as it will spruce up there area around the development. Not to mention, the future MetroLink Line than could go down Jefferson Avenue.
If MetroLink goes down Jefferson Avenue, we can see more development along that street as it is a major thoroughfare through the city. Furthermore, Heakthworks Village will deal with the eyesore known as “Pruitt-Igoe”. Even though this phase of the project is small compared to the overall plan for the site, it is a start and will help shape the Jefferson Avenue corridor for years. Although less urban, it is the “smart start” to the true Northside Regeneration Project.
While these plans commence and get underway, Paul McKee’s Gas Station and Grocery Store North of Downtown on Tucker, has stalled. That would’ve been a $20 Million investment into the Near Northside neighborhood and Downtown in general. But hey, at least Paul McKee isn’t sitting around doing nothing anymore. He still has tons of land to redevelop on the Northside and into the Central Corridor, better hurry up Paul.