Sterling Bay’s proposed plan to build a 20,000-seat soccer stadium along the North Branch of the Chicago River could be in danger, according to published reports.
Several outlets reported Monday evening that Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) plans to voice his opposition to the plan, which is part of the proposed overhaul of the historically industrial area of the Chicago River that’s been dubbed “Lincoln Yards.”
Hopkins will issue a statement Tuesday, but a source close to the alderman told Crain’s Chicago Business that Hopkins “doesn’t see a path” in which the stadium would come to be.
Hopkins’ expected decision comes weeks after the alderman released a poll asking nearby residents for their thoughts and concerns about the planned project by developer Sterling Bay.
According to Crain’s, 53 percent of the 870 survey respondents opposed the stadium element of the development plan. In an email to constituents, Hopkins said nearby residents have “serious concerns that even if a stadium were to be included, the allocated parking and pedestrian congestion mitigation was insufficient.”
Twenty-three percent of respondents supported the stadium and 25 percent were unsure, Crain’s reported.
The proposed stadium would be the home to a United Soccer League franchise owned by Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, though it would also host other community and sporting events.
Developers unveiled plans last summer for the proposed multibillion-dollar development along a 53-acre section of the North Branch of the river.
Hopkins’ expected opposition is the latest obstacle for the proposed mega-development.
Last month, the Hideout and several other small music venues in Chicago said they were “banding together” in an effort to slow the project.
About $800 million in TIF money is expected to be earmarked for the project. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was planning to fast-track $1.7 billion in subsidies to unlock the development potential of four massive projects in and around downtown even before Chicago lost the heated competition for Amazon’s second North American headquarters.
Sterling Bay has said the project would create 23,000 on-site jobs and another 10,000 “indirect or induced” jobs, as well as 2,500 construction jobs per year during the development’s first decade.
And once populated with businesses, Sterling Bay says Lincoln Yards would churn out $4.2 billion in economic output annually, bringing in more than $38 million in revenue per year to the city.
They say they’ll add 12 million square feet in total buildings, about half residential — 5,000 units — and half commercial, including up to 500 hotel rooms.