Mayor to Announce DePaul Arena on Thursday

A new home for the DePaul Blue Demons men's basketball team within the Chicago city limits is within reach.

DePaul had set forth in their Vision 2018: Dedication to Excellence, the goal of returning the Blue Demons to the City of Chicago. The strategic plan said that DePaul would "seek opportunities to bring men's basketball back into the city."

DePaul has played their games in suburban Rosemont at Allstate Arena since 1980.

That strategic plan is now taking steps closer to fruition.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will call a press conference for Thursday to announce plans to construct an arena for the Blue Demons as part of the McCormick Place expansion project taking place in the South Loop.

The multi-use arena is expected to have a seating capacity for basketball of 12,000.

A Chicago Sun-Times report that the arena would cost $300 million grossly exaggerated the arena costs.

CBS 2's Jay Levine reports that the cost of the arena would be $195 million. The costs would be shared by DePaul University, and McPier, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which owns and operates McCormick Place. Contrary to reports that new state taxes would be needed, McPier would fund the arena through bond sales, city TIF funds, and hotel/motel tax revenue.

DePaul's contribution to the project is not expected to exceed $75 million.

The cost would also be deferred by selling naming rights to the arena to a large corporation that is still to be determined.

The arena will also be used to host conventions and expositions which are too large for Chicago's Navy Pier and too small for McCormick Place, as well as concerts and other sporting events.

Emanuel's aim is to create jobs and revitalize the South Loop area with hotels, restaurants, and an arena that will cater to convention and tourism visitors to the city of Chicago.

Unknown at this time is the timeline for the construction project. DePaul's lease with the village of Rosemont is set to expire in 2015.

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