Chicago's Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority on Monday awarded New Haven, Conn.-based architect Pelli Clarke Pelli a design contract for a DePaul University arena to be sited near McCormick Place, the city's leading convention center. The authority, which operates McCormick, will own the multi-use arena and lease it to DePaul.
Pelli Clarke Pelli also designed a new theatre school complex for DePaul that opened this fall.
Five other design firms competed to design the $173-million arena, three of them based in Chicago, including John Ronan Architects, Krueck + Sexton Architects and Ross Barney Architects. The project also drew international interest, with London-based Grimshaw Architects and Netherlands-based OMA/AMO Architecture competing for the contract.
As designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli, the glass-enclosed structure will feature an undulating or “hump-backed” roof that incorporates several rows skylights.
In addition to the university's Blue Demons basketball team, the 10,000-seat facility will host concerts, graduations and other public events upon completion in 2016.
The arena is regarded as the centerpiece of a planned entertainment district the Authority believes will bolster business for McCormick Place, which has lost business to competing cities in recent years. Located south of the city's Loop, the venue currently offers few dining or hotel options, creating an inconvenience to visitors who must travel several miles by taxi to attend events there.
In February, the Authority announced plans to construct a $400-million, 1,200-room hotel near McCormick to boost convention activity in Chicago. Plans also call for a smaller boutique hotel for the area, in addition to shops and restaurants.