SOUTH LOOP — The Chicago Transit Authority broke ground Thursday on a new Green Line "L" station serving Cermak Road and McCormick Place.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who took part in the ceremonial groundbreaking, said the L stop would give conventioneers at McCormick Place a new, cheaper option to get around town and back. Emanuel cited data released last week by the Cvent Supplier Network showing that Chicago is now the second-most-popular U.S. destination for conventions and business meetings, moving ahead of Las Vegas and behind only Orlando, Fla.
Other city officials said the stop on Cermak between State Street and Wabash Avenue would benefit the South Loop as well. "It will spur economic development in this area," said CTA President Forrest Claypool.
Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, whose department is joining in the construction, said the station would serve as "a catalyst for investment in this neighborhood."
The project has long been planned as part of improvements in and around McCormick Place to benefit convention business.
The $50 million project is also part of $92 million in CTA improvements in the South Loop, including the rehabilitation of the Harrison Red Line station and the 18th Street connector the Orange Line runs on to reach the Loop.
It's the first CTA station at Cermak Road since one was demolished in 1977. It will be the CTA's 146th rail station upon completion by the end of next year.
Claypool added that the Red Line reconstruction along its south branch down the Dan Ryan Expressway was on budget and on schedule for completion in mid-October.