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A Closer Look at the Planned Blackhawks Practice Facility

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More details have surfaced regarding the Chicago Blackhawks upcoming practice facility as the proposal moves through the City of Chicago's planning and approval process. Submitted by Chicago Blackhawks ownership last month, the latest plan involves the rezoning of a four-acre site currently occupied by Malcolm X College at 1801-1853 W. Jackson from B3-3 (Community Shopping District) to a Planned Development for a two-story, 125,000 -square-foot training center containing two regulation size ice rinks. The site will feature seating for 300 spectators in each rink as well as locker rooms, concessions, a dedicated loading zone, green roof, 127-spot parking lot, and space reserved for 26 bicycles.

While the new practice center will house dedicated fitness and training facilities reserved exclusively for Blackhawks personnel accessed via a private entrance, it is primarily envisioned as an asset to be shared by the community. Right now Johnny's Icehouse hosts not only Blackhawks practices, but the majority of downtown Chicago's amateur leagues and youth development programs. Such is the demand for ice time that Johnny's was forced to adopt a lottery system. According to Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, the new hockey facility will be open for community use 94% of the time which will go a long way towards satisfying the area's growing love of the sport.

It's hard to make any sort of judgement on the latest design without seeing higher quality images of the proposal, but the exterior has certainly changed since Chicago architectural firm HOK last showed its design to the public in July. The refined design now includes an angled internal beam detail that will add more visual interest and texture to the building's appearance. New rough images of signage show a placeholder of "Chicago Blackhawks XYZ Training Center," so it's probably safe to assume that naming rights will be available to a sponsor -- similar to what was seen with HOK's recently built Advocate Center Chicago Bulls Practice Facility a few blocks north.

A resolution recommending a proposed ordinance authorizing the transfer of land from Malcolm X College to Wirtz and company will go before the City's Plan Commission today. If all goes to plan Wirtz will acquire the land in June with construction beginning in July. Completion of the privately-funded $50 million facility is scheduled for November 2017 and will play a role in the continued revitalization of Chicago's Near West Side.

·Blackhawks Plan New Practice Facility on Former Malcolm X College Campus [Curbed Chicago]
·At Planned Practice Facility, You Could Skate on the Blackhawks' Rink [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous Blackhawks coverage [Curbed]