Chicago Bulls to Build Practice Center in Current Parking Lot
Don't worry, the team will still play at the United Center. Even better, they will practice next door. The team announced today that they will be building a brand new, 55,000-square-foot practice facility in the current "J" parking lot of the United Center, to be completed in time for the 2014-15 season—this from the Associated Press (via ESPN). The "J" lot is located on the east side of the stadium between Monroe and Madison.
The Bulls have practiced in Deerfield, Illinois at the Berto Center since 1992. However, the team announced in June that they would no longer be practicing in Deerfield. Plans to build the new practice facility were announced Friday.
The Bulls have Mayor Rahm Emanuel to thank for support of the new facility. Emanuel, the current mayor of Chicago, strongly encouraged the Bulls to build a practice facility in downtown Chicago, in an attempt to boost the Chicago economy and support for Chicago's only basketball franchise.
Emanuel has also openly voiced his support for a facility that will house the DePaul basketball team as well as serve as a practice facility for the Chicago Bulls. Today's announcement, however, did not address the topic of possibly hosting DePaul as well. DePaul currently plays at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Rosemont is located 15 miles west of Chicago, and is very difficult for students to get to, as there is very limited public transportation from the University's main campus on Chicago's North Side to the Allstate.
The entire practice facility will be funded privately by the team, with no public financing for the project.
360 Architecture of Kansas City, Missouri will be the lead architect, and McHugh Construction of Chicago will be the general contractor. 360 Architecture also designed the new football stadium and arena renovations at Southern Illinois University, as well as Mizzou Arena and Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.
The Bulls have considered building an entertainment facility in the adjacent parking lot, which would include restaurants, bars, team offices, a team store and an entertainment facility. However, the Bulls have put that project on hold, and are trying to seek an extension on tax cuts set to expire in 2016.
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