Ronald McDonald House Coming to Streeterville

November 10, 2010

Article on the Groundbreaking, posted by the Chicago Sun Times written by Cheryl V. Jackson

Ronald McDonald House coming to Streeterville

Opening 5th Chicago area guest house for hospital patients’ families



November 10, 2010


Don’t be misled by the 14 stories.

Home will be where the height is come 2012, when the Ronald McDonald House opens in the Streeterville neighborhood, builders say.

Ronald McDonald holds up the arms of Max Herrick, 6, as he is introduced at the ceremonial groundbreaking of a new Streeterville Ronald McDonald House.
(Scott Stewart/Sun-Times)


The Streeterville neighborhood Ronald McDonald House will be the world’s largest, with 86 guest rooms.

The current largest is the New York City house, which has 84 guest rooms. The current largest in the Chicago area is the Hyde Park neighborhood building, with 29 guest rooms.

Operated by Ronald McDonald House Charities, there are 300 houses worldwide, including about 180 in the United States.

The first opened in Philadelphia in 1974. The first outside the United States opened in 1981 in Toronto.

The suggested donation for the Streeterville neighborhood house is $10 a night.

“This has been a labor of love,” architect Joe Antunovich of Antunovich Associates said Tuesday at the ceremonial groundbreaking at 211 E. Grand. The actual groundbreaking is set for Feb. 1. “It will be a house, a home, a place built with love that through its design says, ‘Welcome, come on in and stay awhile.'”

With 86 guest rooms, it will be the largest of the 300 houses Ronald McDonald House Charities has built worldwide, designed to allow families to stay close to hospitalized children for a nominal fee.

The building will support families with children at the new Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago — being built three blocks away — as well as Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Prentice Women’s Hospital & the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Its 14 stories will include a rooftop healing deck, chapel, 24-hour Internet and resource center, dining rooms and a kitchen filled with home-cooked meals.

Families can call any time to reserve a spot, thanks to the 24-hour reservation system — a first for a Ronald McDonald House.

“It’s the little touches that take you from a good house to a great house,” said Doug Porter, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana.

The Streeterville neighborhood building would make house No. 5 for the Chicago area.

Supporters include Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, who spent about a week at the house near Children’s Memorial Hospital in the Lincoln Park neighborhood when his infant daughter, Tiana, was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and received a heart transplant in 2008.

“It was a perfect getaway when you wanted to relax and just chill,” Tillman said.

“They were kind. They were sweet. They were generous. The meals were great. And I didn’t get any special treatment,” he said. “It was very family oriented. “

It’ll cost about $30 million to build the facility. About $18 million has been raised so far, with local franchises committing five cents from the sale of each Happy Meal over a five-year period.