The site is north of East Cermak Road between South Indiana Avenue and South Prairie Avenue, near McCormick Place in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood.
More than a dozen possible locations throughout Chicago were considered. The need to have parking for 2,000 to 3,000 cars was one of the primary factors that helped rule out the Lincoln Park Campus as the site for the facility. Lincoln Park is a densely populated residential area that already has significant traffic congestion and has among the highest property values in the city. The new site provides public transportation accessibility from both the Loop and Lincoln Park campuses, while also allowing convenient parking for our Blue Demons fans. The public-private partnership with the City of Chicago and 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.
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) 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 constructed in the next several years. 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 arena.
Chicago is a large metropolitan city that experiences unfortunate instances of crime in all of its neighborhoods. This part of the South Loop is not a high-crime area of the city. In fact, the public safety profile of the South Loop has been steadily improving for years.
Construction would begin in 2014 and be completed in time for the 2016-17 basketball season.
Right now the events center has not been named. The exact process for naming the facility has yet to be determined.
Although the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and DePaul haven't begun the design phase of the project, we anticipate the capacity for basketball games to be around 10,000. It will be possible to add additional seating on the floor, boosting total capacity to about 12,000.
DePaul's investment in this partnership with the city will amount to $70 million. Funding will come from ticket sales, naming rights, and revenues generated by DePaul athletics and the BIG EAST Conference. We also plan to generate funds from those most committed to our athletic programs. We expect that these resources, rather than funding from tuition, will underwrite this project.
DePaul makes this investment for several compelling reasons. Most immediately, this partnership provides a rare opportunity to bring DePaul basketball back to the city at a reasonable cost while helping the City achieve its goals of rejuvenating Motor Row. And it is good for DePaul. College basketball presents invaluable opportunities to shine a light on DePaul's excellent academic reputation and its commitment to its community. This first-class facility and its more central location will help us build on the momentum our basketball program has enjoyed in recent years from hiring first-rate coaches and staff. Alumni will find the broadened name recognition a help when competing for jobs nationally. Ultimately, this new venue will create a tide that will lift the entire DePaul community on many fronts.
The City of Chicago and DePaul University are inextricably entwined. Students experience the city in numerous ways. In addition to basketball, the center will be available for academic events such as commencement ceremonies and conferences that draw larger crowds than DePaul's current facilities can accommodate. The location will allow DePaul to better position itself as "Chicago's University," a primary goal of the university's new strategic plan called "Vision 2018: Dedication to Excellence, Commitment to Community." Having an accessible urban venue stamped with the DePaul identity will strengthen bonds with the community and invite in new generations of the media and the public. The facility will affirm and strengthen a sense of community, affinity and institutional pride among students, staff, alumni and friends. Young people from around the city will experience DePaul's story and mission in vibrant living form and share in its spirit and excellence.
A home court in the heart of Chicago unquestionably will make DePaul more attractive to men's basketball recruits. 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.
The 10,000-seat facility has the potential for hosting NCAA women's basketball tournament games. The seating capacity, however, is not large enough to accommodate NCAA men's basketball tournament games.