WBEZ | McCormick Place http://www.wbez.org/tags/mccormick-place Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Emanuel counts surprising projects as neighborhood development http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-counts-surprising-projects-neighborhood-development-111685 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Marriott at McCormick Place.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Critics of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel contend he focuses too much on what is good for downtown and not enough on neighborhoods.</p><p>In campaign speeches the mayor vigorously rebutts that. One of his regular sounding points is the $4 billion spent on seven neighborhoods through a program called Neighborhoods Now.</p><p>The mayor reaches that $4 billion number by bundling together a hodgepodge of investments: federal dollars, city dollars, and lots of private cash spent on private ventures.</p><p>Some of the projects are exactly what one would expect from neighborhood development: a grocery store in Englewood, train line updates in Rogers Park, and a wellness center in Little Village.</p><p>But some of the projects WBEZ found in the full list might not be what an average Chicagoan expects when you hear Emanuel describe a program guided by the belief that Chicago&rsquo;s success is measured by &ldquo;whether our families can raise their children in our neighborhoods.&rdquo;</p><p>For example, the full Neighborhoods Now list counts the $44 million in private money SOHO House brought to the West Loop. Soho House is a hip membership club. It requires a headshot, application, and approval from a board to join.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">A quarter of public dollars in one area</span></p><p>Not all the projects on Emanuel&rsquo;s Neighborhoods Now list are privately financed like the Soho house. Nearly a half-billion dollars, ($457,815,397 to be exact) came from the city budget.</p><p>Almost one quarter of those dollars went to an area right around the McCormick Place convention center in the South Loop. It includes two hotels and a new green line L stop. There is also a big stadium where DePaul athletes can play basketball games.</p><p>All that&rsquo;s included as Neighborhood Now, listed under the Bronzeville Neighborhood, just to the south.</p><p>Pat Dowell is the alderman there for the 3rd Ward. Her office said it expects the hotels to bring more people into the the Bronzeville neighborhood.</p><p>But Harold Lucas with the Black Metropolis Convention &amp; Tourism Council isn&rsquo;t so ready to praise the move. He&rsquo;s been a big advocate for bringing attention to Bronzeville. Does the development around McCormick Place sound like neighborhood investment to him?</p><p>&ldquo;It does not, &ldquo; Lucas said. &ldquo;And it tells us we need to be civically engaged ... In making sure that we benefit.&rdquo;</p><p>Lucas said real neighborhood development would have brought bigger investments in community-owned businesses and projects committed to preserving Bronzeville&#39;s rich African-American history.</p><p>There is a bit of a warning in what Lucas is saying. Chicagoans have to pay close attention to what is being touted as community development&mdash;maybe especially around election time.</p><p>They should scrutinize broad initiatives and big money numbers and find out, in concrete terms, what they mean block to block.</p><p>Cook County Commissioner Jesus &ldquo;Chuy&rdquo; Garcia&rsquo;s office didn&rsquo;t respond to repeated requests to describe his specific plans for neighborhoods.</p><p>Emanuel has said if he is re-elected he would double Neighborhoods Now.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her</em><a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h"><em> @shannon_h</em></a></p></p> Wed, 11 Mar 2015 09:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-counts-surprising-projects-neighborhood-development-111685 Famed architect Cesar Pelli's firm to design South Loop arena http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-09/famed-architect-cesar-pellis-firm-design-south-loop-arena-108742 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/depaul3.PNG" style="height: 453px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div>Architecture firm Pelli Clarke Pelli was selected Monday to design the new $195 million McCormick Place Event Center that will double as home for the DePaul Blue Demons basketball program.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The selection of the internationally-respected firm was aimed at easing public and community concerns that the spot picked for the center&mdash;a Near South Side site between McCormick Place and a residential neighborhood that contains the Prairie Avenue Historic District&mdash;was ill-suited for a big 10,000-seat arena.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority CEO Jim Reilly, whose agency in June <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-06/mcpier-now-seeks-better-architecture-depaul-event-center-107737">retooled its search for architects</a>&nbsp;in hopes of getting better designers, said in a news release today the &quot;dynamic yet elegant design created by Pelli Clarke Pelli for the event center fits perfectly into the fabric of the community.&quot;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The New Haven, Conn. firm was picked during a meeting of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the agency that operates McCormick Place. The firm was awarded a $7.2 million contract.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The arena is planned for an area bounded by 21st Street, Indiana Avenue, Cermak Road, and Prairie Avenue. Renderings depict a glassy, transparent building with an overhanging roof that could be a passing reference to the dark, stellar McCormick Place Lakeside Center, built in 1971. Unlike that flat-roofed building, the Pelli Clarke Pelli structure&#39;s roof rises to a slitted hump in the center.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Let&#39;s take a look around. This view looks eastward from Cermak and Indiana:</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/depaul.PNG" style="height: 432px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div></div><p>A closer view from Cermak and Indiana shows the interior space and the underside of that humped roof:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/depaul2.PNG" style="height: 481px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The interior of the arena:</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/depaul_4.PNG" style="height: 435px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div></div></div><div>Pelli Clarke Pelli&mdash;senior principal is the <a href="http://pcparch.com/firm/people/cesar-pelli-faia">famed Cesar Pelli</a>&mdash;designed the newly opened <a href="http://pcparch.com/project/depaul-theater-school">theater school</a> at DePaul University and the planned Wolf Point redevelopment along the Chicago River. The McCormick Place project is being supported with $70 million from DePaul, $70 million in bonds sold by McPier and $55 million in city of Chicago tax increment finance funds.</div><p>But what of this project&#39;s design? Judging a project&#39;s merit by looking at renderings--and the design here isn&#39;t final and hasn&#39;t yet been taken through a rigorous design, engineering and public input phase--is a task less accurate than reading tea leaves, but here goes:</p><p>To gracefully squeeze a multipurpose building with 10,000 seats on a site that&#39;s only one square block&mdash;less than that, once plaza, sidewalks, entry spaces are taken into order&mdash;is a tall order; I&#39;m not sure the renderings fully depict the trade-offs needed to do that. Does the arena in the third image above<em> really </em>comfortably fit in the glass box in the second image&mdash;or will the completed building be taller than shown?&nbsp;</p><p>And I&#39;m curious about the north end of the building, which is an elevation not shown in the supplied renderings. This is likely to be the workhorse side of the structure where deliveries, staging and the like will occur&mdash;and it abuts the existing residential area. What will that look like? <em>[After this post went live, McPier officials told me trucks will enter off a cul-de-sac on Prairie Avenue on the east side of the center and not via residential 21st street on the north side of the building.]</em></p><p>Credit where its due, though: The building as depicted doesn&#39;t seem like an architectural afterthought. If it has to be built, at least the makings of a bright, transparent, urban-sensitive building are there.</p><p>The arena is scheduled to be built by fall of 2016, along with a 1,200 room hotel and a 500-room hotel nearby.</p></p> Mon, 23 Sep 2013 15:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-09/famed-architect-cesar-pellis-firm-design-south-loop-arena-108742 BlogHer’s annual conference comes to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/blogher%E2%80%99s-annual-conference-comes-chicago-108168 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/blogher_ac.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The nation&rsquo;s biggest conference for female bloggers is coming to Chicago&rsquo;s McCormick Place this week.</p><p>BlogHer is an online community where female bloggers exchange life advice.</p><p>Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Elisa Camahort Page said&nbsp; the conference brings more than just education.</p><p>&ldquo;Business gets done in these kinds of events,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Getting out there in the world, [and] meeting other people who are interested.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We had attendees who met like-minded people with whom they finally hit on the partners to start that business that they&rsquo;ve been thinking about,&rdquo; she added.</p><p>This is the third time BlogHer comes to Chicago.</p><p>This year&rsquo;s keynote speakers include Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and The Walking Dead producer Gale Anne Hurd.</p><p>The conference runs from Thursday to Saturday.</p><p><em>Aimee Chen is a WBEZ business reporting intern. Follow her @AimeeYuyiChen.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Jul 2013 14:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/blogher%E2%80%99s-annual-conference-comes-chicago-108168 Chicago officials defend plan to add arena, hotel to McCormick Place http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/chicago-officials-defend-plan-add-arena-hotel-mccormick-place-107378 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Filckr McCormick ChibiJosh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Chicago officials say a casino may not fit close to McCormick Place on the city&rsquo;s near South Side. Illinois lawmakers are debating this week whether to allow Chicago to operate its own casino, and McCormick Place has been suggested as a potential site.</p><p>&ldquo;The area where we&rsquo;re talking about, which is on the North Side of McCormick Place, there really isn&rsquo;t much in the way of land that would be big enough to encompass a full-service casino operation if we wanted to,&rdquo; said Steve Koch, Chicago&rsquo;s deputy mayor. He testified at a hearing in Springfield before some Illinois state representatives Monday.</p><p>The debate over a Chicago casino comes as city officials are lobbying for a new arena at McCormick Place, where DePaul&rsquo;s basketball team would play.</p><p>Earlier this month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the ambitious projects as part of a renovation of the city&rsquo;s top tourist attractions.</p><p>The mayor&rsquo;s office estimates the 10,000-seat arena would cost $140 million, and would host DePaul University&rsquo;s men&rsquo;s basketball games, in addition to potential acts related to &nbsp;trade shows at McCormick Place.</p><p>With the addition of the hotels, the total cost of the project is about $1.1 billion.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 27 May 2013 14:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/chicago-officials-defend-plan-add-arena-hotel-mccormick-place-107378 Morning Shift: TIFs and Red Line reconstruction http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-05-20/morning-shift-tifs-and-red-line-reconstruction-107264 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/flickr_JeraSue.jpg" alt="" /><p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/the-morning-shift-tif-n-ride-on-the-cta.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/the-morning-shift-tif-n-ride-on-the-cta" target="_blank">View the story "The Morning Shift: TIFs and South Siders lose their rides on the CTA" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Mon, 20 May 2013 07:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-05-20/morning-shift-tifs-and-red-line-reconstruction-107264 McCormick Place offsets 100 percent of power with wind energy http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-05/mccormick-place-offsets-100-percent-power-wind-energy-107092 <p><p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wolfgang1320/2598030417" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mccormick%20place%20by%20Wolfgang%20Gillo.jpg" style="height: 407px; width: 610px;" title="McCormick Place. (Wolfgang Gillo)" /></a></p><p>As conventioneers pack up their model turbines and fly home from the 2013 Windpower exhibition at McCormick Place, they have the wind at their backs.</p><p>That&rsquo;s because the nation&rsquo;s largest convention center announced this week it would purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) to offset 100 percent of its energy use with wind power. The three-year arrangement with Atlanta-based Sterling Planet will procure credits worth some 331,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to McCormick Place, or <a href="http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html#results">about as much as 69,000 passenger vehicles</a> each year.</p><p>The cavernous conference center uses about 130 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, but its plan to buy RECs doesn&rsquo;t mean wind turbines will now be wired to McCormick Place. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-04/does-electricity-aggregation-do-enough-renewable-energy-106760">As with electricity aggregation deals that scored 100 percent renewable energy for Evanston and Oak Park, the credits can come from established wind farms anywhere in the country</a>. When renewable energy power plants generate power, they rack up credits that they can sell on the open market.</p><p>According to Ryan Thorpe, director of facility operations for McCormick Place operator Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the wind power credits came &ldquo;at little or no additional cost&rdquo; than their previous power arrangement.</p><p>McCormick&rsquo;s move is not the first example of a large purchaser getting bullish on renewable energy. Walmart <a href="http://www.walmartstores.com/sites/responsibility-report/2012/renewableEnergyApproach.aspx">set a goal to become powered by 100 percent renewable energy</a>, pushing distributed generation and long-term contracts to buy actual energy, not just credits. Google, too, has made major purchases. But a company buys power in a different way than a municipality.</p><p>The REC deal also comes as McCormick Place tries to cut its energy and waste costs in a bid to brand itself as the nation&rsquo;s &ldquo;green&rdquo; conference venue. In April it <a href="http://www.astm.org/Standards/E2774.htm">won recognition as an environmentally sustainable conference center</a> from the American Society for Testing and Materials, using a new certification process introduced last year. Its West Building also earned the U.S. Green Building Council&rsquo;s LEED Certification.</p><p>Laudable though those initiatives may be, the idea of a green conference might seem an oxymoron &mdash; no matter how light their footprint inside the exhibition hall, guests still fly long distances to be there. The value of face-to-face interaction, though, is tough to deny and harder to quantify. Whatever the waste involved with traveling en masse for conferences may be, it amounts not to an indictment of conferences themselves, but instead makes clear how fossil fuel use is embedded in nearly every aspect of modern life.</p><p><em>Chris Bentley writes about the environment. Follow him on Twitter at&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/Cementley" target="_blank">@Cementley</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 08 May 2013 21:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-05/mccormick-place-offsets-100-percent-power-wind-energy-107092 1,200-room hotel planned near McCormick Place http://www.wbez.org/news/1200-room-hotel-planned-near-mccormick-place-105598 <p><p>A 1,200-room hotel will be built near McCormick Place to accommodate the crowds that come to Chicago for conventions and trade shows.</p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to build the hotel in a news release Tuesday. They say the project will create nearly 2,500 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs.</p><p>Quinn says McCormick place is already an asset to Illinois and the hotel will help bring in more business and fuel the state&#39;s economic recovery by putting more people to work.</p><p>Emanuel says the new hotel will further establish Chicago as the best destination for conventions and trade shows.</p><p>McCormick Place is the largest exhibition and meeting facility in North America with 2.6 million square feet of convention space.</p></p> Tue, 19 Feb 2013 09:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/1200-room-hotel-planned-near-mccormick-place-105598 For NATO protesters, a welcome mat http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-protesters-welcome-mat-99136 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LorraineChavez4cropscale.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 356px; height: 223px;" title="Lorraine Chavez is hosting protesters in her McKinley Park home: ‘If we did not have wars, we could have investments for jobs.’ (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></div><p><em>With Chicago&rsquo;s NATO summit just days away, officials are battening down the hatches for protests that could draw thousands from out of town. But some other Chicagoans are rolling out a welcome mat for those same protesters. They&rsquo;re clearing space in their businesses and churches, allowing tents in their yards, even opening spare bedrooms. We report from our West Side bureau.</em></p><p>Officials are planning to close streets and highways. They&rsquo;re bringing in state police officers and National Guardsmen and preparing for mass arrests. They&rsquo;re ready to roll out a military device that sends ear-piercing tones over long distances. But over in Chicago&rsquo;s McKinley Park neighborhood, there is Lorraine Chavez.</p><p>CHAVEZ: And here is another bedroom if someone has an inflatable mattress. My kids are off to college so I have some empty space.</p><p>Chavez is offering two rooms of her cramped century-old house to some protesters from Florida this weekend.</p><p>MITCHELL: What do you know about these guests?</p><p>CHAVEZ: Not much [laughs] but I requested older guests.</p><p>Chavez says she is taking them in because the protest could bring some attention to joblessness in this country.</p><p>CHAVEZ: I am underemployed myself, despite having a master&rsquo;s, a career path, and doctoral work at the University of Chicago. All of the men in my family who are responsible for college-age kids have all been laid off. If we did not have wars, we could have investments for jobs. This is the moment that these demands are being made and heard and I need to be a part of it.</p><p>Chavez got connected to the Floridians through Occupy Chicago. That group is using its website to collect lodging offers and requests for the NATO protests. A group called CANG8 has a similar site.</p><p>HUNT: If somebody has 20 dogs and someone&rsquo;s allergic to dogs, that would be a bad match.</p><p>Pat Hunt&rsquo;s helping run that system.</p><p>HUNT: If they&rsquo;re providing a warehouse space for 50 to 100 people, they&rsquo;ve asked us to have somebody there just to make sure that [there will be] no drugs, no alcohol, no weapons -- basically that type of thing.</p><p>The anti-NATO groups say they have fielded offers from about 265 potential hosts. They include a homeowner who is installing a wheelchair ramp for a disabled protester. A Latino nonprofit group is taking in guests as long as they don&rsquo;t draw police back to the neighborhood, which is full of undocumented immigrants. A man in DuPage County is letting protesters camp around a house he is losing to foreclosure. An African-American congregation is offering its yard for tents.</p><p>MARSHALL: It was almost a no-brainer for us. It was just a matter of, really, logistics and trying to work out the logistics for it.</p><p>John Marshall serves on the board of that church, Trinity Episcopal. It&rsquo;s just a few blocks from McCormick Place, the site of the NATO summit. He says hosting protesters is not exactly a stand against the military alliance.</p><p>MARSHALL: It&rsquo;s the residue of what happens with war, what happens to refugees, what happens to people who are made poor because of war. Even if they&rsquo;re not within the theater of war, there are lots of people who are poor in the world that we could be helping as opposed to making another B-1 bomber.</p><p>Trinity officials say there hasn&rsquo;t been much fallout for taking that stand but they are hearing from some neighbors. When the church held an educational forum about NATO, some nearby homeowners showed up with questions about the campers.</p><p>NEIGHBOR: How are you going to keep your guests on your property and not coming onto the property of other people who live in the neighborhood?</p><p>MARSHALL: We&rsquo;re going to monitor them. And they&rsquo;re going to be outside at their own Porta-Potties and provide their own stuff.</p><p>Someone peeing in a neighbor&rsquo;s yard isn&rsquo;t the worst thing that could happen. Pat Hunt, the protester who is running one of the housing websites, says what worries her is theft or any sort of attack.</p><p>HUNT: Either one of the guests takes advantage of the host or a host takes advantage of one of the guests. Somebody would get hurt. That&rsquo;s always my fear.</p><p>Hunt says these logistical considerations go beyond this protest against NATO. She says her movement has to start creating the sort of world it&rsquo;s demanding.</p><p>HUNT: If what we&rsquo;re saying is shared resources then we have to model shared resources.</p><p>Hunt thinks this model can work. And, this weekend, we might see if she&rsquo;s right.</p></p> Tue, 15 May 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-protesters-welcome-mat-99136 Jackson backs anti-NATO march: ‘Our agenda will be heard’ http://www.wbez.org/news/jackson-backs-anti-nato-march-%E2%80%98our-agenda-will-be-heard%E2%80%99-98116 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/JesseJacksonCROPPEDSCALED_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Organizers of a protest march during next month’s NATO summit in Chicago are adding a powerful voice to their ranks. Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., is backing the walk to McCormick Place, a convention center where some 50 heads of state will hold their two-day meeting.</p><p>“Our world has become jilted by war, too much concentrated wealth and too much poverty,” said Jackson, an internationally known civil-rights activist and a two-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. “I’m hoping on May 20 there will be a large demonstration. And, if it’s nonviolent and disciplined and focused, our agenda will be heard.”</p><p>In this five-minute interview, I ask Jackson how he could march against NATO after supporting its 1999 bombing campaign against Serbian forces. I also ask whether the protest could damage President Barack Obama’s international standing or his reelection bid. The interview begins with Jackson’s take on the march’s significance.</p></p> Tue, 10 Apr 2012 18:13:15 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/jackson-backs-anti-nato-march-%E2%80%98our-agenda-will-be-heard%E2%80%99-98116 Quinn, Emanuel appoint McCormick Place Board http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-emanuel-appoint-mccormick-place-board-96964 <p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have appointed eight members to the board that runs the McCormick Place convention center.</p><p>State law gives them each four appointments to the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.</p><p>Quinn's appointees include attorney Carmen Lonstein and union leaders Ronald Powell, Bob Reiter and Becky Strzechowski.</p><p>Emanuel is appointing former state Comptroller Dan Hynes, retired ComEd CEO Frank Clark Jr., Bank of America executive Julie Chavez and Roger Kiley Jr., an attorney who was Mayor Richard Daley's chief of staff in the 1990s.</p><p>In a news release Monday, Emanuel says it is important to have a good team in place because McCormick Place is essential to Chicago's economic future. Quinn says the appointees have the experience need to attract new tradeshows.</p></p> Mon, 05 Mar 2012 15:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-emanuel-appoint-mccormick-place-board-96964