hunt for an architect for the controversial $173 million DePaul
University basketball arena near McCormick Place will start Tuesday.
city-state owner of McCormick Place, the Metropolitan Pier and
Exposition Authority, or McPier, said it would open up the bidding
process Tuesday, and a final proposal is expected to be chosen by the end
of August, reports the Chicago Tribune. A nine-member panel is tasked
with supervising the process.
McPier is looking for proposals for
an arena without blank walls toward the outside, which has been a
concern among some area residents.
The proposed 10,000-seat basketball arena is part of a larger project to create an entertainment district at McCormick Place, including a new, 1,200-room hotel at the convention center with a $400 million price tag.
DePaul University will pay $70 million for the arena and another $70 million will come from the McCormick Place Exposition Authority’s bond fund. The remaining $33.5 million for the arena would come from tax increment financing (TIF) dollars. Another $21.5 million in TIF money is set to be allocated for the purchase of land for the hotel.
to McPier officials, an initial public meeting will be held for those
interested in submitting proposals for the arena. And a second public
meeting will take place later regarding the proposals that will be
Meanwhile, some area residents who are opposed to the project are holding their own meeting, sponsored by The
Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance. According to the organization,
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other officials have been asked to join the
June 27 meeting.
Activists have also blasted the project, arguing that TIF money would be better spent on public education.