CHICAGO – A major project for Chicago’s Major League Soccer team took a big step toward reality on Monday.
Chicago Fire FC along with the Chicago Housing Authority announced the signing of a ground lease for a new training facility in the Roosevelt Square neighborhood. Formerly the ABLA homes for CHA, the 23.3-acre site borders Roosevelt Road, Ashland Avenue, 14th Street and Loomis Street.
This comes after the Chicago City Council approved the proposal for the property back in September, reversing a previous decision. Per the Fire, construction is expected to begin later this spring.
The club plans to use the land to build a 53,000 square-foot, two-story performance center, two-and-a-half hybrid grass, and three synthetic turf fields. The reported cost of the facility is between $80-90 million dollars, which will be financed by the Fire.
“Being a part of and giving back to Chicago is at the heart of the Chicago Fire Football Club ethos, and we are excited to put down roots on the Near West Side in the Roosevelt Square community,” said Chicago Fire FC owner Joe Mansueto in a statement. “The development of our new facility will provide a state-of-the-art training environment for our players, coaches, and sporting staff.
“Our facility will also serve as a community programming home to the next generation of Chicagoans, bringing our city together through the sport of soccer. We look forward to getting underway and continuing our work with local residents on this project.”
As part of the agreement, the Fire will provide $8 million community investment for rehab and restoration of current CHA housing along with the creation of community spaces. The club also pledges a few other commitments to the Roosevelt Square neighborhood, including
- Long-term employment for community members
- Resources for minority and woman-owned businesses
- Free sports programming for local youth
- Community green spaces
There had been pushback as recently as last week from local advocacy groups hoping the land would be used for affordable housing. But the lease agreement now paves the way for the area to be used as the practice facility for the club.
“The Chicago Fire, one of our city’s greatest sports teams, deserves to have a high-quality training facility that not only meets their needs but fosters the growth of talented athletes,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a statement. “This potential new facility will both fulfill this need and provide the surrounding West Side community with job opportunities, recreational activities, and community gathering spaces.
“Additionally, the millions of dollars in rental income generated by this project will support the CHA’s efforts to rehabilitate and build affordable housing in the surrounding areas.”