Sterling Bay Plans Chicago USL Club, Stadium

Chicago USL rendering

Plans have been unveiled for a Chicago USL team, with the club’s stadium slated for a development that been proposed for Amazon’s second headquarters. 

Last month, we noted that Sterling Bay had included a concept for a new stadium in its pitch to bring Amazon’s HQ2 to Chicago’s Lincoln Yards. The city and proposal that ultimately lands Amazon HQ2 remains to be seen, but Sterling Bay is moving forward with plans for the stadium to be home to a Chicago USL club that could begin play in 2020.

Sterling Bay is planning to own and operate the expansion club with other investors. The new stadium–designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill–would be ready for the first season of Chicago USL. Some aspects of the design are still being worked out, but the stadium could include about 20,000 seats and a retractable roof, and is being touted by Sterling Bay officials as a major component of the Lincoln Yards development. More from The Chicago Tribune:

Specific details of the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed stadium are still being fine-tuned, but the venue is expected to have a retractable roof and about 20,000 seats. [Sterling Bay Managing Principal Andy] Gloor said. A retractable roof will allow the stadium to be used for events year-round, potentially including international soccer matches, college football and basketball games, concerts and other events, Gloor said.

The Tribune reported in October that a stadium is part of Sterling Bay’s larger vision for a more than 70-acre, mixed-use development called Lincoln Yards on the edge of the Lincoln Park and Bucktown neighborhoods. The riverfront land includes the former A. Finkl & Sons steel plant site and other formerly industrial land Sterling Bay has bought.

Prospective office tenants have expressed interest in having entertainment on the campus, Gloor said. “The live-work-play aspect has to be there,” Gloor said. “You just can’t build a suburban office complex there. Having the entertainment component is important.”

Sterling Bay still needs to present formal plans for Lincoln Yards to community groups and gain zoning approval from the city.

At this point, Chicago USL is not planning for a MLS affiliation. This plan would add to a city that features numerous teams and venues, including MLS’s Chicago Fire, which plays at Toyota Park in suburban Bridgeview.

Rendering courtesy Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. 

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