DePaul eagerly anticipates new arena

Chicago Tribune
Blue Demons should be in their new Chicago home sometime in 2016-17 season.

An official groundbreaking date still has not been set, but DePaul officials remain confident a new McCormick Place arena and home for Blue Demons basketball will open as scheduled in late 2016 or early 2017.

A DePaul spokesman said Monday an opening during the 2016-17 school year still is expected, repeating a timeline DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto outlined last month.

Lenti Ponsetto said the worst case scenario would be opening in early 2017.

Crain's Chicago Business reported last week that the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (McPier) had not yet issued contracts for work, projected to take around 22 months to complete.

But site clearing was expected to take another step forward this week with a scheduled move of the landmark Harriet F. Rees house into the Prairie Avenue Historic District.

The glass-walled arena will on Cermak Road between Indiana and Prairie avenues, west of the McCormick Place convention center complexes.

Projected to cost $173 million, the planned 10,000 seat McCormick Place Event Center is a joint public-private partnership between DePaul and McPier, with each kicking in around $70 million.

Designed by Connecticut-based Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, renderings show a below street-level court surrounded by two levels of seating. The arena and a proposed hotel would anchor a planned McCormick Place entertainment district. The arena also would host concerts and conventions.

DePaul men's basketball would call the city home for the first time since moving from on-campus Alumni Hall to the then-Rosemont Horizon in 1980. The men's program will mark 35 years in Rosemont this season.

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