The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and Chicago Fire Football Club have entered into a lease agreement on a new performance and training facility for Chicago’s Major League Soccer team in the Roosevelt Square area on the Near West Side.
The lease is for 23.3 acres of vacant CHA land that Chicago Fire will develop as a headquarters and training center. As part of the long-term lease agreement, the Fire will finance the development of the multi-million-dollar facility and provide an $8 million community investment to be used for the rehabilitation and preservation of nearby CHA housing and the creation of indoor and outdoor community spaces. Additionally, the Fire will provide long-term employment for community members, resources for minority and women-owned businesses, free sports programming for local youth, community green spaces, and more.
The lease is estimated to generate $40 million in revenue for CHA over the next 40 years, and CHA will use proceeds to invest in its nearby housing sites – ABLA Brooks Homes, Loomis Courts, and Williams Jones. Construction on the training facility is anticipated to begin later this spring.
The site is generally bounded by Roosevelt Road, Ashland Avenue, 14th Street and Loomis Street. The site was previously occupied by portions of CHA’s former ABLA Homes, which is already in the process of being replaced by the mixed-income Roosevelt Square community as part of CHA’s ongoing commitment to develop mixed-income, mixed-use housing.
Facility plans include world-class practice fields and a performance center where team members prepare for matches. The facility would also house the Fire’s Youth Academy, offering programmed activities for youth, teens, and young adults in CHA housing and the broader community.
The Chicago Fire Football Club was founded in 1997 on the 126th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire. The Fire have won six major domestic championship titles, including the 1998 MLS Cup, the 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups, as well as the 2003 Supporters’ Shield. The Fire plays their home matches at Soldier Field. For more information on the club, visit chicagofirefc.com.
The lease signing comes after an intensive public engagement process to discuss the proposal, including community meetings hosted or co-hosted by the CHA, Department of Planning and Development (DPD), the Fire, and Alderman Jason Ervin (28th Ward). The Fire met directly with multiple community organizations during the planning process. CHA also received approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the project.
COMMUNITY MEETINGS and PUBLIC COMMENTS
In addition to in-person public meetings, a virtual community meeting was held via Zoom on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Download the presentation or watch a recording of the meeting.
CHA collected the following public comments that were submitted in writing or shared during community meetings in May 2022.
CFFC Public Comments Response Grid
PLAN Commission and City Council Zoning Approval
The Chicago Fire Football Club Performance Centre and Roosevelt Square Master Plan Update were taken to the City of Chicago’s Plan Commission and City Council. The application for a zoning map amendment for PD #896 was approved on September, 15 2022 and passed City Council on September 21, 2022.
Chicago Fire Performance Centre Chicago Plan Commission
HUD Disposition Approval
CHA received approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the lease deal on March 6, 2023.