DePaul scouting basketball arena sites in South Loop, Near West
McCormick Place and United Center areas among those eyed by North Side college
10/01/2012 6:53 PM
DePaul University’s basketball team is looking to make a comeback, heading from Rosemont to the city of Chicago, and their target has apparently shifted from the North Side to a couple of locations further south and west.
DePaul’s basketball team moved to suburban Rosemont in the mid-1980s, but the school recently said it wants to move its team back to the city. In theory, having an arena closer to campus and in a prominent location would make it easier to recruit top talent to the school.
Originally, the school was rumored to be scouting several spots near its Lincoln Park campus, including the A. Finkl & Sons steel mill, the Morton Salt Company facility, and a parking lot at the intersection of Fullerton and Sheffield.
But according to reports in Crain’s Chicago Business and the Chicago Sun-Times, DePaul’s search has broadened lately, and they’ve been scouting spots Near McCormick Place and exploring a partnership with the United Center.
The first story, from Sun-Times gossip columnist Michael Sneed, said DePaul was discussing the possibility of sharing the United Center’s court as well as its new practice facility, which is rumored to be replacing one of the arena’s many parking lots.
But a follow-up story from Greg Hinz with Crain’s reported that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing the team to build a new stadium near McCormick Place, in a bid to liven up the neighborhood and the proposed Motor Row entertainment district when the convention center is empty. Those discussions, Hinz said, are more serious than those with the United Center.
Emanuel touted a series of improvements to the South Loop and Near South Side on Friday, making use of a bundle of TIF cash.
Guy Chipparoni, a spokesman for the United Center, said in an emailed statement that the arena’s ownership is interested in working with DePaul.
“We agree with Mayor Emanuel’s idea to bring DePaul basketball back to Chicago, just like the Bulls practice facility, would be good for the city, and the United Center is prepared to explore this with DePaul,” Chipparoni said.
In a statement to Hinz, DePaul said they’re looking at everything on the table at this point.
“As noted in our strategic plan V2018, one of DePaul's goals is to seek opportunities to bring men's basketball back into the city. To that end, DePaul will consider any proposal that will help us accomplish that goal. As of how, however, nothing definitive has been forthcoming.”