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Whirlyball Breaks Ground At New Logan Square Site

By Quinn Ford | February 27, 2014 3:01pm | Updated on February 27, 2014 3:14pm
 Construction on Whirlyball's new facility at 1823 W. Webster Ave. formally began Thursday and is scheduled to be completed by October, its owner said.
Whirlyball Ground-breaking
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BUCKTOWN — The freezing weather did not stop WhirlyBall owners from breaking ground Thursday at what will be its new and improved building.

The new site, 1823 W. Webster Ave., is about a half-mile south of WhirlyBall's current home, located at 1880 W. Fullerton Ave.

WhirlyBall owner Sam Elias said he was aiming to have construction on the 50,000-square-foot building completed by October. That is roughly the same time WhirlyBall's current building will have to close to begin a city project to reconfigure the Damen-Elston-Fullerton intersection, he said.

WhirlyBall is described as a combination of lacrosse, hockey and basketball with bumper cars.

Elias bought the 58,000-square-foot parcel on Webster Avenue in June for $3.5 million. A closed industrial dry-cleaning facility at the site was demolished in 2012.

 WhirlyBall is building a new space and relocating to 1823-255 W. Webster Ave. in Bucktown in late fall 2014.
WhirlyBall is building a new space and relocating to 1823-255 W. Webster Ave. in Bucktown in late fall 2014.
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Construction of the new complex will cost about $7.2 million, and the total cost of the project is about $12.5 million, Elias said.

WhirlyBall's new two-story complex will be bigger than its current 30,000-square-foot building, and will include three WhirlyBall courts, Laser Tag, and a restaurant. Plans also include bowling lanes and a 200-person event space, Elias said.

"We're excited," Elias said. "We can't wait to show off our new look. ... I think people are really going to dig it."

Elias said the business had not been notified of an exact date the current building would have to close but he believed it would be sometime in the fall. He is trying to ensure there will not be any gap between shutting the Fullerton location and the opening of the new building.

Both the current and new site are in Ald. Scott Waguespack's 32nd Ward. Waguespak's chief of staff said at the ground-breaking ceremony that the "horrible" intersection at Damen, Elston and Fullerton avenues had to be addressed.

"It had to be done," Paul Sajovec said. "But we're thrilled that WhirlyBall is going to stay in the 32nd Ward."

City officials estimate about $27 million in funds from the North Branch tax-increment financing district will be used to buy nine parcels of land for the Damen-Elston-Fullerton intersection project.

That will include buying the land WhirlyBall currently rents on Fullerton Avenue. Exact costs are not yet available because negotiations to buy the land are still ongoing. An exact start date for the Damen-Elston-Fullerton project has not been set yet.