Chicago Bulls hold groundbreaking ceremony for new downtown practice facility

Bulls representatives, elected officials, and civic leaders celebrate construction of team’s practice facility, scheduled for completion in time for the 2014-2015 season


Reinsdorf, Emanuel, Burnett and Paxson remarks from groundbreaking ceremony

June 10, 2013 – The Chicago Bulls held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for the team’s new practice facility. Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Bulls President and COO Michael Reinsdorf were joined by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. to celebrate the new facility.

Bulls representatives including Executive VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson, General Manager Gar Forman, Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, and Special Advisor to the President and COO Scottie Pippen, as well as local community leaders were also on hand for the event. The ceremony took place at the location for the new facility in the United Center’s Parking Lot J, which sits just east of the arena on South Wood Street between Monroe and Madison Streets. The new venue, which will be funded completely by the Bulls, is scheduled for completion in time for the 2014-2015 season.

“Today’s ceremony marks the start of an exciting phase in the relocation of the Bulls practice facility to downtown Chicago,” said Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. “Our new practice facility is being designed and built in a way that will help us achieve the team’s number one goal – winning championships. I want to thank Mayor Emanuel and local community leaders for their continued encouragement and support for this project. We are all eager to see this new facility realized and know it will play an important role in the ongoing redevelopment efforts in our West Side neighborhood.”

The facility will be approximately 60,000-square-feet in size. Designed with player usage in mind, the facility will allow the team to move easily between training, fitness, nutrition, and therapies. The state-of-the-art facility will include amenities such as therapeutic pools, two full-size basketball courts, outdoor courtyards, a second-level green roof terrace, updated locker rooms and a video room. The practice facility will feature a “saw-toothed facade” on Wood Street with opaque glass at the pedestrian level that becomes transparent at higher levels. The north side of the building along Madison Street will also have an opaque glass wall that becomes increasingly transparent towards the top of the building, allowing a view of the team’s six championship banners. Additionally, the plan will incorporate new trees and landscaping along Madison and Wood Streets.

The firm, 360 Architecture, will serve as the lead project architect, and McHugh Construction has been named the General Contractor.

“The Chicago Bulls are an iconic championship team and a source of great pride for our city, and I am proud to welcome the Bulls back home,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This new practice facility is a strong commitment to Chicago and a major step forward in the economic growth of the Near West Side neighborhood.”

When the team announced the practice facility relocation earlier this year, Reinsdorf credited the Mayor with the idea to move the facility.

“Mayor Emanuel has done a tremendous job promoting investment in the City of Chicago. The Mayor stressed that the Bulls brand is important to the city, nationally and internationally, and that the Bulls represent the spirit and competitive grit of Chicago. He thought centralizing our team assets inside the city limits would be a demonstration of our ongoing commitment to Chicago. We had been contemplating how to address the growing demands on our current practice facility for awhile, so the Mayor’s timing and ours made sense.”

The Bulls are committed to providing opportunities for Chicago-based companies, including women and minority owned businesses, during the construction project. The Bulls, along with Alderman Burnett’s office and McHugh Construction, hosted a construction outreach fair for potential subcontractors at the United Center in May.

“The Bulls have been good neighbors for many years, and I know this new practice facility is going to be a great addition to our community,” said Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. “The Bulls’ leadership has worked closely with us on this process, and I commend their efforts to further economic development on the West Side of Chicago.”

The Bulls have practiced at the Sheri L. Berto Center in Deerfield, IL, since 1992. The team intends to sell the current practice facility.