The stakes have been raised for a development that includes a Chicago USL stadium, as Live Nation will help develop multiple entertainment venues.
Sterling Bay has included plans for the 20,000-seat stadium in its Lincoln Yards development, which has been pitched as a possible home for the second Amazon HQ. Anticipation for the plans was certainly heightened last week, when it was announced that Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts will serve as majority owner of an upcoming USL club that is slated for the facility.
Under the ownership of the Ricketts family trust, the Cubs’ Wrigley Field has received significant renovations in recent years. While the upgrades have spruced up the ballpark itself, they are also part of a larger initiative that has made Wrigley Field the center of an entertainment district that includes new restaurants, hotels, bars and entertainment spaces, like the outdoor plaza at Gallagher Way. (You can read more about the Wrigley Field makeover here.)
The model of a sports venue at the core of an entertainment district is also planned for the Chicago USL stadium, as Live Nation will partner in entertainment venues in the development. More from The Chicago Tribune:
The partners plan to build three to five venues. Aside from the large sports stadium, which could have a retractable roof, the venues could potentially range from a 100-seat amphitheater to a 6,000- to 8,000-seat venue, said Dean Marks, principal and general counsel at Sterling Bay. That would allow Live Nation to schedule a mix of musicians, comedians and other entertainers ranging from up-and-coming acts to world-famous performers.
Marks declined to say how much Live Nation is investing in the partnership. He said the smaller venues could cost about $50 million combined, with the big stadium costing in the range of $200 million.
The Ricketts family, meanwhile, will be involved in scheduling sporting events besides the soccer team’s games, Marks said. “This is all part of making this a live-work-play recreation district,” Marks said.
Sterling Bay is still seeking city zoning approval for the project, but the stadium/entertainment district model would seem to fit the parties involved, including Ricketts and Live Nation. It also positions the development to attract events of multiple sizes, given the range in capacity for the venues planned.
“We are thrilled to be executing on such a unique project,” Andy Gloor, managing principal at Sterling Bay, said in a press statement. “Chicago already has a reputation as an entertainment hub and we are excited for the community to have easy access to a variety of new events with some of the biggest names in music.”
The 70-acre Lincoln Yards development from Sterling Bay is slated to be located between the Lincoln Park and Bucktown neighborhoods.
“Across Chicago we are witnessing an unparalleled amount of growth and development that contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of our great city,” said Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel in a press statement. “There is an unprecedented amount of enthusiasm for promising projects springing up on the banks of the Chicago River, and I am looking forward to the next steps in the community-driven process that will help write the future of North Branch area development for years to come.”
Rendering courtesy Sterling Bay.