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Northerly Island Concert Venue Could Hike Capacity to 30,000

By DNAinfo Staff on March 19, 2013 4:45pm

 Charter One Pavillion on Northerly Island
Charter One Pavillion on Northerly Island
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CHICAGO — Tens of thousands of additional concert-goers could head to Northerly Island this summer under a proposal to nearly quadruple the seating capacity of Charter One Pavilion to more than 30,000.

The plan would add room for 22,000 people on a Ravinia-style lawn, and would also add 600 seats to the current 8,000 seats there now.

The proposal, which would add 52,000 square feet of new lawn space to Charter One, making it one of the largest concert venues in the city, will go before the Plan Commission Thursday, according to an agenda.

The proposal is part of the plan to make Northerly Island, currently one of the more pristine natural areas along the city's lakefront, a unique green space destination for city-dwellers, said Bob O'Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy and Advisory Council.

The lawn seating could be ready for concerts by late spring or early summer if approved, O'Neill said.

The plan will double the revenue that goes to the Chicago Park District from the Northerly Island venue from $1 million to $2 million, O'Neill said. That revenue will go toward expanding conservation efforts for Northerly Island to make it more natural and wildlife-friendly.

The $3 million project would be funded by Live Nation, O'Neill said.

Northerly Island was once home to the Miegs Field airport, which former Mayor Richard Daley ordered bulldozed in 2003. The temporary Charter One Pavilion stage opened in 2005.

"There's an opportunity here that's amazing because nowhere in the world do we have in a lake ... a total of about 90 acres to create all this," O'Neill said.