The Chicago Blackhawks have unveiled plans for a new practice facility near their home ice at the United Center, but just a day after announcing the proposal, controversy over its funding is already beginning to command attention. According to the plan, the team will build a new 125,000-square-foot athletic center on the property that Malcolm X College currently occupies. According to team owner Rocky Wirtz, the new facility "would be for the community," and will provide an opportunity to boost Chicago's youth hockey scene. The complex will feature two large ice rinks, which would nearly double the number of indoor ice rinks that are currently in the city, Wirtz states. According to a report from Crain's, there may have been some backstage political maneuvering to make the deal work.
While Mayor Rahm Emanuel has not disclosed what the team has agreed to pay for the four-acre site, the mayor has stated that the Blackhawks will pay "market rate" for the property. Rush University is expected to take over the remainder of the 11-acre campus. According to a new report from the Tribune, Mayor Emanuel has stated that "nothing is being hidden" as far as the deal with the Blackhawks are concerned. When asked if the Blackhawks will get a special deal on the land, the mayor indicated that the deal will "be a net gain for the city from a financial standpoint."
·Emanuel administration: 'Nothing is being hidden' on Blackhawks practice site [Tribune]
·Emanuel's Blackhawks surprise: The story behind today's news [Crain's]
·Blackhawks to build new practice facility near United Center [Sun-Times]