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DePaul Arena and Other McCormick Place Construction Pushes Forward

By David Matthews | September 23, 2015 12:21am
 View from the southwest at the corner of Cermak Road and Indiana Avenue.
View from the southwest at the corner of Cermak Road and Indiana Avenue.
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DePaul University

MCCORMICK PLACE — Construction is rolling on a new hotel near McCormick Place that will sit adjacent to the future home of the DePaul Blue Demons, and underground work for that arena project is set to begin, a top convention official said Tuesday.

Lori Healey, head of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and a former chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley, said all 123 caissons — or deep foundation tools — are installed for a 1,200-room Marriott Marquis hotel that broke ground eight weeks ago. 

Underground utility work is about to begin on the nearby McCormick Place Event Center, which will host DePaul University basketball games when it opens in about two years.

Asbestos removal and other work is finished for the American Book Co. building, 320-330 E. Cermak Road, and Healey announced officials will begin working next month with the Illinois Restaurant Association to bring a restaurant to that project. 

The arena, which was announced about a week before City Hall closed 49 public schools in 2013, has been controversial since it was proposed. City Hall approved $55 million in tax-increment financing funds towards the Marriott hotel, but not the arena. Healey's agency, colloquially called McPier, is a quasi-public body that governs McCormick Place and Navy Pier. 

The hotel and arena are expected to open in 2017. 

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