May 1, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of the stadium exterior before game one of the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Minnesota Wild at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
2016 – The United Center Office Building Opens
Okay so this was an easy one, but hey, I’m just warming up here. As many of you know, this past January it was announced that a 190,000 square foot standalone office building would be constructed in what is now the United Center’s H Parking Lot by the autumn of 2016. In addition to housing the United Center employees that currently work offsite, the complex will also to be home to a new Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks retail store.
This development was followed by the announcement this past July that a new practice facility would also be constructed for the Blackhawks that would be utilized 94 percent of the time by the public.
So what exactly can we take away from these near-future construction projects? For starters, these projects wouldn’t be possible without the success of the Blackhawks, but more importantly, these investments in the West Loop community the ’Hawks call home signal a significant cultural change.
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Since its construction, the United Center, like Chicago Stadium before it, has been an arena where you go to watch a game and then get outta Dodge. With the construction of these two facilities, however, the United Center and the immediate surrounding area will become more of a destination then simply a venue, more akin to Wrigley Field and its surroundings Wrigleyville, as these projects will trigger scores of additional retail and residential developments. The landscape around the Madhouse on Madison will look drastically different in 10 years’ time, and these two projects are certainly the catalysts for this transformation.
Next: Looking Ahead To 2017
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