After much anticipation, DePaul University and Chicago officials unveiled the brand new Wintrust Arena over the weekend.
Starting with the 2017-18 season, DePaul’s men’s and women’s basketball programs will play their games at Wintrust Arena. Located near McCormick Place, the 10,300-seat facility is being billed as a venue that can accommodate other events and performances besides basketball, allowing it to serve as an amenity in the area.
While it is significant in that it has allowed the men’s team to relocate from Rosemont, Wintrust Arena is also something that officials hope will draw visitors into that section of Chicago. The arena’s arrival was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday. More from DNAinfo.com:
Saturday’s ribbon-cutting also culminated years of planning by city officials who view the new arena as an anchor of a burgeoning entertainment district they envision for the neighborhood surrounding McCormick Place.
The $193 million arena was controversial ever since it was announced in 2013, about a week before Mayor Rahm Emanuel moved to close 49 Chicago public schools. The arena was developed by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and DePaul, the latter contributing $82.5 million toward the project.
“It’s not very often we have a building of this complexity and size delivered on time and under budget,” Lori Healey, CEO of the agency colloquially known as McPier, said Saturday. “We know you’ll agree with us, it’s all worth it in the end.”
DePaul men’s basketball’s debut at Wintrust Arena is slated for November 11, while the women’s program’s first game at the venue is scheduled for December 8. In addition, the arena will be home to the WNBA’s Chicago Sky.