Events Center Frequently Asked Questions
How is DePaul financing the project? Will tuition money be used?
Project funding will come from ticket sales, naming rights, and revenues generated by DePaul athletics and the BIG EAST Conference. Tuition will not be used to underwrite this project.
When will it be completed?
The facility is anticipated to open during the 2016-17 basketball season.
How will it benefit students who are not interested in athletics?
The event center will not only be used by DePaul for athletics events but also for graduation ceremonies and it will be available for other fundraising, academic and student events.
Is the hotel connected to the event center project?
The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) plans to construct a 1,200-room hotel on Prairie Avenue immediately across from the event center. DePaul involvement with the MPEA is limited to the event center project, though the two facilities will likely be connected by an elevated pedestrian walkway for ease of access.
How will the event center help in improving the basketball team?
Close to the lakefront and in the center of the nation's third-largest media market, a state-of-the-art facility will become an important selling point in the recruiting process. Having campuses and athletic facilities that bookend one of the most vibrant urban areas in the world is a huge attraction for student athletes.
How much would an arena cost if we built it ourselves? What other options were considered?
The cost to acquire the necessary land, construct a comparably-sized arena facility, build parking facilities sufficient to support the arena, and finance necessary traffic flow improvements, could easily exceed $250 million. Costs to operate and maintain the facility would be an additional, ongoing expense for such a project. The cooperative arrangement with the MPEA will give the university the benefits of a new, state-of-the-art facility, at a fraction of the cost.
Over the years, the university considered numerous potential sites throughout Chicago. Site selection factors that were considered included traffic flow, the need for considerable nearby parking capacity (2,000 to 3,000 cars), zoning requirements, land costs, and ease of access to location via public transportation from DePaul’s Lincoln Park and Loop campuses.
In addition to those important site selection factors, it was critically important for the university to pursue a cooperative arrangement to offset a significant portion of the cost to the university. The new site at McCormick Place provides the university with a compelling economic structure in addition to access to ample parking and convenient public transportation access from both the Loop and Lincoln Park campuses. The selected location is also near the central business district of Chicago and is conveniently accessed from the I-90, I-94, I-55 and I-290 expressways as well as Lakeshore Drive. The partnership with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority enables DePaul to meet its strategic goal of returning Blue Demon basketball to the city in a cost-efficient redevelopment project that benefits the community, increases DePaul's visibility and strengthens the university's historical commitment to the city.
How far away is McCormick Place?
DePaul calls two Chicago neighborhoods home, with campuses in the Loop and in Lincoln Park. The Cermak-Chinatown stop (2200 south) on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Red Line is three stops and five-to-ten minutes away from the Loop Campus. Lincoln Park students could easily take the Red Line to the same Cermak station. Additionally, a new station on the Green Line near the site will be opening in 2014. All DePaul undergraduates and many graduate students have U-Pass cards giving them unlimited access to the CTA, which entitles them to unlimited travel on CTA buses and trains during the academic quarters in which they are enrolled. Shuttle buses will be available from DePaul's campuses for the short trip from Lincoln Park down Lake Shore Drive. A shuttle is also planned from the Cermak CTA station to the event center.
Will it be safe for students to get to and from?
According to statistics published by the Chicago Tribune (http://crime.chicagotribune.com/chicago/community), rates of crime in the Near South Side neighborhood where the event center will be located, are generally consistent with the rate of incidents reported in Lincoln Park, the Near North Side, and the Loop areas.
As with any neighborhood, in Chicago and elsewhere, pedestrians and users of mass transit should remain aware of their surroundings and vigilant about personal safety – particularly when traveling alone or at night.
Will the facility only be used for basketball?
Plans are for other DePaul University events to take place at the facility including, but not limited to convocation and graduation ceremonies. Popular campus events such as Fest could be hosted at the facility as well.
Is TIF funding being used to build the event center?
No. There is no tax increment financing (TIF) associated with the events center development. When the project was announced in May 2013 there was some speculation regarding the possibility of the City of Chicago supporting the event center development with the use of TIF funding, but that is not the case. Land acquisition costs will be independently funded by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) and construction costs will be jointly funded by the MPEA and DePaul University.