Mayor Rahm Emanuel, DePaul University step up with Arena Deal



Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced plans for a large-scale project near McCormick Place, which includes construction of a 10,000-seat, multipurpose events center to be the new home for DePaul Blue Demons college basketball.

In addition to hosting the DePaul men’s and women’s basketball teams; and serving as a college basketball practice facility, the events center will host the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) and Chicago convention-related business, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced.

The new arena is planned for Cermak Road between Indiana and Prairie avenues. Under the plan approved by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff, the building costs will be shared evenly between DePaul and the MPEA.

Construction will begin in 2014, and it should open in time for the 2016-2017 Big East college basketball season.

“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 Rahm Emanuel. “These projects represent a major economic engine for Chicago, injecting millions of dollars into our local economy and creating thousands of construction and full-time 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.”

The new facility will include no fewer than six locker rooms, including dedicated locker rooms for the DePaul men’s and women’s basketball programs, two locker rooms for officials and visitors locker rooms; training rooms with suitable conditioning equipment and hydro-therapy stations; offices for coaches; sound system, video, scoreboard and ribbon-board; wireless and TV capabilities, including TV truck access points; media, hospitality and interview space; concessions space; auxiliary box office; merchandise and gift shop; and internal and external signage.

DePaul will fund this investment through a combination of sources, including ticket sales, naming rights, revenues generated by DePaul Athletics and Big East Conference. It is expected that funds also will be generated from those most committed to the university’s athletic programs.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports He’s also an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter and Yardbarker

Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks)

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