CHICAGO—Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday announced a $1.1 billion redevelopment project dubbed Elevate Chicago for the popular Navy Pier attraction and the McCormick Place convention center in the downtown.
The project features two major components: creation of a McCormick Place entertainment district and the redevelopment of Navy Pier, according to a statement from the mayor’s office. This program will bring about $1.1 of investments in infrastructure and development that will create 10,000 construction jobs, 3,700 permanent jobs, and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic growth annually.
“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,” said Emanuel in the statement. “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.”
The McCormick additions 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.
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 also feature 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 construction cost of the event center is $140 million. The city’s development authority and Depaul will each contribute half of the cost to design and build the arena. The authority 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 500-room boutique hotel, and the other is a 1200-room “headquarters hotel. The latter facility 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 annually.
The Navy Pier redevelopment calls for redesign of the Pier’s public and commercial spaces as it nears its 100th anniversary. 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.
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.