Chicago Construction News staff writer
The Chicago Fire football club hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at the new performance and training facility in the Roosevelt Square neighborhood on the Near West Side last week.
Construction on the training facility is expected to begin later this spring.
The new site will feature a 53,000 sq. ft., two-story performance center, two-and-a-half hybrid grass pitches, and three synthetic turf pitches, providing a world-class training environment for the Fire’s professional and academy players and staff. The hybrid grass pitches will feature a hydronic heating system, and an insulated dome will cover one of the turf pitches from November to March each year.
It will be built on Chicago Housing Authority land and, as part of a long-term lease agreement, the Fire will finance the development of the multi-million-dollar facility and provide an $8 million community investment to be used for the rehabilitation and preservation of nearby CHA housing and the creation of indoor and outdoor community spaces.
“At CHA, our goal is to help families unlock their economic power and seniors thrive. We’ve seen time and time again that all residents—including those who use housing subsidies—benefit from mixed-use, mixed-income communities where housing is located alongside quality public schools, outdoor recreation, jobs and career opportunities, healthcare access, grocery stores, and more,” said CHA CEO Tracey Scott. “That is why we are so excited about this new partnership with the Chicago Fire, which will secure substantial funds to improve aging public housing at ABLA Brooks and Loomis Courts while creating employment opportunities that will benefit this community for years to come.
“It will serve as a catalyst for future growth on the Near West Side.”
A lease is estimated to generate $40 million in revenue for CHA over the next 40 years, and CHA will use the proceeds to invest in its housing mission, including ABLA Brooks Homes, Loomis Courts, and Williams Jones.
The groundbreaking followed public engagement process to discuss the proposal, including community meetings hosted or co-hosted by CHA, department of planning and development (DPD) and the Fire.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Club’s new performance center, which is the result of years of dedication and collaboration with local residents, the City of Chicago, Chicago Housing Authority and other key partners,” said Chicago Fire FC Owner and Chairman Joe Mansueto. “This new performance center will strengthen our ability to recruit and develop the best talent at the professional and Academy levels.
“Moreover, this facility will serve as a community asset, offering valuable resources and opportunities that will benefit multiple generations of Chicagoans.”
The site was previously occupied by portions of CHA’s ABLA Homes, which is being replaced by the Roosevelt Square development as part of CHA’s ongoing commitment to develop mixed-income, mixed-use housing.