DePaul Arena: Mayor's Release, DePaul Statement



Creation of McCormick Place Entertainment District, Redevelopment of Navy Pier will Lift Chicago Visitor Industry to New Level, Create Ten Thousand Jobs, Foster Economic Growth, Revitalize Neighborhoods

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and Navy Pier today announced Elevate Chicago, an ambitious tourism and tradeshow infrastructure redevelopment program. This program will bring to bear nearly $640 million in new investments, which will combine with $470 million of recently announced investments will become a $1.1 billion program that will create 10,000 construction jobs, 3,700 permanent jobs, and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic growth annually. The program initially features two major components: creation of a McCormick Place entertainment district, and the redevelopment of Navy Pier so the popular attraction will draw even more visitors and elevate it to a world-class destination.

The McCormick Place entertainment district will substantially boost the city’s convention and trade show industry and create a unique urban entertainment experience drawing residents of Chicago, the surrounding region, the nation and the world. It will include a 10,000-seat events center serving as a general session hall for conventions and trade shows, a multi-purpose events facility available for use by various organizations, and a home court for DePaul men’s and women’s basketball. It also will include two hotels, entertainment venues and shops that will revitalize the historic Motor Row and nearby neighborhoods. The events center will be used by the City of Chicago and its sister agencies will be able to utilize the facility rent-free. These uses might include Chicago Public Schools events, such as athletic contests or graduations, as well as events from other City organizations.

The Navy Pier redevelopment calls for redesign of the Pier’s public and commercial spaces as it nears its 100th anniversary -- transforming what already is the most popular attraction in the Midwest to a world class destination. The redesign will include an expansion of the Chicago Children’s Museum, the creation of additional dining and entertainment venues, and extensive improvement to the Pier’s physical infrastructure to increase visitors to the attraction.

 “Establishing the McCormick Place entertainment district along with the redevelopment of Navy Pier is a vital step in tapping the full potential of the City of Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These projects represent a major economic engine for Chicago, injecting millions of dollars into our local economy and creating thousands of construction and fulltime jobs. From the moment I took office I have focused on attracting people to Chicago and showing off this wonderful city, and these two projects will leave a lasting impact on the city for generations.”

Jim Reilly, CEO of McCormick Place, noted that the new events center and surrounding hotel and entertainment venues will take Chicago’s convention and trade show business to a new level that will outpace its major competitors.

“We are focused intensely on becoming and remaining the world's leading convention and trade show destination. To do this, we must have not only a state-of-the-art convention facilities, we also need this assembly hall and events center,” said Reilly. “Most of our competitors have events centers, which allows them to attract a range of shows and conventions that are more difficult for us to attract with competitive pricing.  We are fortunate to have a private partner in this venture to share construction and operations costs."

Upon completion, the general session hall will connect to McCormick Place West by a sky bridge. When not being used for convention and trade show business, the facility will host concerts and special events, continuing to drive revenue in the city. Depaul University will serve as the anchor tenant of the events center which will feature 10,000 seats, 22 suites and 300 club seats, along with appropriate locker rooms and other facilities standard for a first-class NCAA facility.

The estimated design and contruction cost of the event center is $140 million. MPEA and Depaul will each contribute half of the cost to design and build the arena. The MPEA will oversee construction and manage the building.

These funds will be met with nearly $400 million in private investment as part of the $1.1 billion plan, which will build the two new hotels and the restaurants and other businesses in the entertainment district. One of the hotels is a 1200-room “headquarters hotel;” the other is a 500-room boutique hotel.

Navy Pier, as the most popular attraction in the Midwest in the years since its 1995 redevelopment, hosts 9 million visitors annually, roughly half of whom are Chicagoans. Nearly 20 years later, Pier leadership, in collaboration with civic leaders, the City of Chicago and an international design team, will give the Pier a more contemporary look and feel inside and out, it will include new urban landscaping and dramatic water features, pocket parks and social areas. The major goals of the guiding Centennial Vision are to update and refresh the Pier’s public spaces and attract more evening and year-round visitors with new entertainment venues.

“We are taking what is good and making it great,” said Marilynn Gardner, president and CEO of Navy Pier Inc. “We have a unique opportunity to create one of the world’s signature attractions, one that, like Millennium Park, bridges elevated, contemporary design with popular appeal.”

The $278 million redevelopment, to be completed in two phases starting in the fall of 2013, will set a world-class standard for design. It will include changes to Gateway Park, South Dock, the South Arcade, Pier Park and Crystal Garden, along with a new East End entertainment district and East End Park. The Family Pavilion, right inside the Pier’s front doors, will be completely revitalized, and an expanded Chicago Children’s Museum will open on its upper level in 2016. Finally, the $48 million Navy Pier flyover is fully funded and will be implemented and completed as part of this project. The flyover is an ambitious public works project that will eliminate bottlenecks and reduce the chances for bicycle/car collisions around Navy Pier.

“The Navy Pier redevelopment project represents an exciting opportunity for the City of Chicago,” said Alderman Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward.  “The Pier will benefit from major enhancements including: long overdue aesthetic improvements; expanded open green space; and more hospitality amenities that will help transform Navy Pier into a year-round destination.  Most importantly, this plan will deliver a beautiful, greatly expanded Chicago Children’s Museum - a new world-class facility that will help ensure the Pier remains the state’s number one tourism destination for many decades to come.”

Navy Pier’s Centennial Vision will also mean expanded free arts, entertainment and cultural programming to better connect the Pier to the City of Chicago as well as expanding the Pier’s appeal. Opportunities for increased programming include live music, enhanced holiday celebrations and public art as well as sports and recreation activities.

The projects will create thousands of permanent jobs, and nearly 10,000 construction jobs. It has wide support from labor unions.

The McCormick Place Entertainment District will include the recently announced “headquarters hotel.” This is a full-service, 1,200 room facility with ample amenities that will serve as the headquarters for groups holding conventions and shows at McCormick Place. The “headquarters hotel” will increase the number of hotel rooms in walking distance from the convention center by approximately 50 percent. Once construction is complete, the arena, “headquarters hotel,” entertainment district, increased hotel room demand and new convention center activity is estimated to create approximately $108 million for the City of Chicago annually.

“I’m excited about the prospect of a revitalized Cermak and Motor Row corridor with all the energy, business, and jobs that come along with it,” said Alderman Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward. “I look forward to working with my constituents on a process that engages their opinions and input.”

McCormick Place will directly benefit from the construction of a new Green Line station, previously announced by Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Transit Authority. This will make the area more accessible to new leisure visitors from the South Loop, Chicago metro region and across the Midwest.

The announcement was made on Mayor Emanuel’s two year anniversary as Mayor of Chicago.

 DePaul University Statement

DePaul President Father Dennis Holtschneider's announcement to the DePaul community:

Dear Colleagues and Students,

Last year, DePaul's Vision 2018 strategic plan articulated our many goals for the next six years. One goal — bringing men's basketball back to Chicago — created a flurry of speculation about possible sites for a new DePaul basketball arena. Indeed, we received and reviewed about a dozen different proposals. We weighed the advantages and disadvantages of each. Ultimately, we agreed to pursue a public-private partnership that would offer the most cost-efficient and accessible venue for DePaul basketball.

Today, I am thrilled to tell you that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has just announced the city's plans for a large-scale tourism and economic development project near McCormick Place — one that will include a new, 10,000-seat events and convention facility, that also will serve as a DePaul arena for both our men's and women's programs.

Home to both the men's and women's teams, the new facility will bring together the large and diverse community of DePaul students, alumni and fans from the city and suburbs. In addition to hosting home games for DePaul basketball teams and serving as a practice facility, the events center will support other high-profile functions for both DePaul and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) — including DePaul commencement ceremonies, special events and Chicago's convention-related business. The facility will serve as an important venue for many Chicago-area public and private schools and other colleges as well, including Chicago Public Schools sporting events, graduations, City Colleges events, and the like.

DePaul is now one of several strong partners who are part of the mayor's plan to make Chicago more attractive to tourists and convention planners. Other facilities being planned as part of the city's collective package of strategic investments in tourism and economic development in the South Loop include:

  • Street-level restaurants and shops at the base of the arena, along Prairie and Indiana Avenues;
  • A 400-room hotel on the same block, along Cermak Road;
  • A second hotel development on the south side of Cermak Road between Indiana and Michigan Avenue;
  • An elevated pedestrian walkway from the McCormick Place parking garage to the arena facility; and
  • A related $166 million investment in the renovation of Navy Pier and the Children's Museum.

The city expects this project to produce 3,000 to 5,000 permanent jobs, along with 5,000 construction jobs during the building phase.

DePaul's investment in this partnership with the city will amount to $70 million. We believe we can complete this project without affecting tuition. Funding will come from ticket sales, naming rights for the arena, revenues generated by DePaul athletics and the Big East Conference, and fundraising. Happily, several gifts have been committed, and we look forward to announcing them in the near future.

DePaul makes this investment for several reasons. College basketball presents high-impact opportunities to promote our reputation. Alumni find the broadened name recognition a help when competing for jobs nationally. This first-class facility and its more central location will help us build on the momentum our basketball program has enjoyed in recent years from hiring first-rate coaches and staff. And, most immediately, this partnership provides a rare opportunity to do so at a reasonable cost while helping the city to achieve its goals of rejuvenating Motor Row — an area it has long wanted to revive — and while helping the MPEA attract a broader array of conventions to the city.

We do this with nothing but gratitude for the Allstate Arena in Rosemont and for the city leaders who have been so supportive for so many years. It has been a wonderful relationship. Given that construction on the new facility is not expected to start until 2014, we likely will ask to extend our contract. Our hope is to play the 2016-17 season in our new arena.

Today's announcement adds to what has been an exciting time for the university. Just this past week, DePaul completed construction of our new soundstage at Cinespace Studios in Chicago, to dramatically increase the learning opportunities for our film students. In July, DePaul will open major new buildings for our College of Education and The Theatre School. We will transform our library into a Learning Commons this summer. We are redesigning space for our departments of writing and modern language, and nearing completion of the architectural documents for a new building for the School of Music. All of this follows numerous facilities improvements over the past six years, new partnerships over the past several years with Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Chicago History Museum, Catholic Theological Union, Facing History and Ourselves, Gordon Tech College Prep and Lake View High School, as well as the addition of 55 new majors and academic programs in the past six years alone.

This reinvention of DePaul has been accomplished through the vision and hard work of our faculty and staff and the assistance of all those who have worked on the Many Dreams, One Mission Campaign, which has generated $283 million in funds to date for student scholarships, academic programs and faculty support. This truly is an inspired community that cares deeply for the future strength of our university.

Thank you for making this exciting next step in our history possible. Without your unwavering dedication and hard work, DePaul would not be what it is — the kind of institution that makes us an attractive partner for ambitious projects like these.

God bless you,

Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M.

For additional information about the arena, please check the following website http://alumni.depaul.edu/arena

 DePaul Student Government Statement


“As the official representatives of the 25,000+ students at DePaul, we applaud Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the City of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, for their decision to partner with DePaul University in the construction of a new events center. DePaul students have been eager with anticipation about the creation of an arena, and the possibility of Men’s Basketball returning to Chicago for some time, and we look forward to learning more about this endeavor along with the campus community.

Beginning in 2016, students will be able to take a short “L” ride from either of DePaul’s campuses to attend a variety of events at the new McCormick Place location. We look forward to having a new DePaul home to host academic convocations, performances, conferences, and commencements, not to mention athletic events. At long last, students will be able to begin and end their DePaul careers in the same space.

We are confident in DePaul’s ability to participate in this partnership without increasing the price of tuition, a particularly important point given our mission-based student population. Degree recognition, athletic success, and campus affinity are sure to be positively impacted by this venture.

We, along with the rest of our fellow Blue Demons, look forward to creating memories in our new home, a true home, for all of DePaul. Go Blue!”

Caroline Winsett, President

Casey Clemmons, Vice President

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