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Poll Shows Support for New Research Center

Growing coalition of architects, civic organizations, labor unions and others show support

CHICAGO, IL --- A poll conducted recently showed that 72 percent of Chicago residents support Northwestern University's plans to build a new research center on the site of old Prentice Women’s Hospital, after hearing arguments from both sides. In addition, Northwestern today announced a coalition of civic organizations, business groups, labor unions, architects, patient advocacy groups and others that support the University’s plans.

When asked whether they favor or oppose Northwestern University building “a new medical research center on the site of the old Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago,” 72 percent of Chicago residents said they favored the new building, with nearly half of those (34 percent) strongly favoring it, while only 14 percent said they opposed it. 

The poll of 507 Chicago residents who identified themselves as likely voters was conducted Aug. 25-27, 2012, by Purple Strategies. The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 4.4 percent.

Northwestern also today unveiled the members of a broad-based coalition of organizations and individuals that support the University’s plans and oppose the proposal to make old Prentice a Chicago landmark. The diverse group includes the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Chicago Federation of Labor, Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago, the ALS Les Turner Foundation, area hospitals and prominent Chicago architects.

“The poll numbers and the backing of these important organizations confirm the wide support for Northwestern’s plans to help make Chicago a center for biomedical research, health care and technological innovation,” said Eugene S. Sunshine, Northwestern’s senior vice president for business and finance. 

“Northwestern’s construction of a new medical research facility on the old Prentice site will help solidify the City of Chicago as a world-class city in which cutting-edge and life-changing advances are made,” Sunshine added.

Among the poll’s key findings were: 

  • 84 percent agree (58 percent strongly agree) with the statement: “Creating new, high quality research jobs is an important part of keeping Chicago’s economy strong and growing in the 21st century.”
  • 78 percent agree (50 percent strongly agree) with the statement: “Chicagoans will benefit from the enhanced research center as more clinicians will be available to provide care to the community.”
  • 78 percent agree (47 percent strongly agree) with the statement: “Northwestern’s new investment in Chicago will create thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in new investments as well as strengthen the local economy.”
  • 76 percent agree (48 percent strongly agree) with the statement: “Northwestern has had success in finding cures, and this new facility will accelerate the University’s research on cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders, among others.” 

The growing list of groups and organizations publicly backing the plan to build the new research center include the following:


  • Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
  • Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago
  • Friends of Prentice
  • Streeterville Chamber of Commerce


  • Jeff Case, Principal, Holabird & Root
  • Dan Mitchell, Senior Vice President and Management Principal — NCR Chicago, HOK
  • Todd Halamka, Senior Vice President and Director of Design, — NCR Chicago, HOK

Labor Unions

  • Chicago & Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council
  • Chicago Federation of Labor
  • Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters

Medical and Scientific Community

Patient Advocacy Groups


  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital
  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
  • Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago


Nearly 100 of the top researchers, physicians and faculty members at Northwestern and its affiliated hospitals have written in support.

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