A northwest suburban ambulance company is building the largest ambulance garage in Cook County within the Illinois Medical District, a Near West Side hub that buzzes with about 50,000 patients per day.
Superior Ambulance Service, based in Elmhurst, says the 26,250-square-foot garage will hire at least 100 new people as drivers, dispatchers and clerical staff. More than half of the new hires will be from neighborhoods surrounding the District, which include North Lawndale, East Garfield Park and Pilsen.
Superior’s garage will occupy an existing vacant warehouse. The ambulance company has already started using it, and began renovations in early September, says Mary Franco, vice president of Superior. Renovations include expanding the garage space, adding office space and building a crew quarters where staff can sleep, shower and change clothes.
“It’s going to be expensive,” Franco says of the renovations, declining to disclose the exact cost.
She estimates renovations will take many years to complete. The garage will house courier vehicles, transit vehicles, wheelchair vans, and also store equipment from partnering hospitals in the region.
“Our hope is this new facility will give them room, and inspire them to eventually expand to other areas of the building,” says Dr. Suzet McKinney, executive director of the Illinois Medical District.
McKinney says the Medical District has about 75,000 square feet of extra space for Superior’s expansion. The District repaved the parking lot and updated the area’s green space in preparation for Superior’s arrival. McKinney declined to disclose the exact cost of the renovations or terms of the lease.
“The Medical District was created to be a geographic hub dedicated to health care, health education, biotechnology, tech innovation, and we also have the overarching mission of driving economic growth here on the Near West Side of Chicago,” McKinney says. “We believe in economic development through job creation….