Since its 2018 grand opening, Wintrust Arena has proven to be a new point of civic pride for the city of Chicago as well as a significant catalyst for increased commercial development in the McCormick Square neighborhood.
Located a short drive from downtown Chicago, Wintrust Arena is a new 10,000-seat municipal arena that expands the existing McCormick Place Exhibition Complex. Event programming for the arena centers around a diverse mix of concerts, family entertainment, and events and convention-related activities in addition to being the new home of DePaul University basketball.
The arena is a contemporary interpretation of a classic Chicago architectural typology: the great public room. Like the Auditorium Theater or the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom, the design endeavors to create a room at the scale of the city — an interior space that Chicagoans will naturally think of as part of the urban fabric that surrounds it. With an elegant curving roof and lightweight glass walls, the new arena partakes of another Chicago tradition — the lyrical structure, or engineering raised to the level of art. With its signature roof form and decidedly open and public presence at street level, the arena gives vibrancy and life that the neighborhood formerly lacked. Creating synergy with existing adjacent convention facilities was another project goal successfully realized. The 300-square-foot arena adds a unique new amenity to the extensive convention campus while the flexible seating bowl provides a great setting for basketball, concerts and ice/entertainment events. It is also tailored to serve as a perfect host for plenary convention sessions.
In addition to the robust event schedule, the arena also provides an urban transition between the pedestrian scale of the Prairie District, the automobile scale of Motor Row, and the large-scale and contemporary style of McCormick Place. While the design is innovative, we worked to ensure that it was highly constructible and achievable within the limits of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority’s schedule and budget.
Optimal relationships were established between the arena and newly developed hotels, including a direct connection from a new 1,200-key Marriott into arena premium/club spaces. Private developers have also taken notice of the momentum building around the new flexible entertainment venue further building on the momentum existing within the South Loop neighborhood.
By creating a truly flexible entertainment venue that seamlessly integrates into its uniquely McCormick Square Chicago context, Wintrust Arena has strengthened the bottom line of the Exposition Authority, breathed new life into an underdeveloped neighborhood and created a new destination for visitors and native Chicagoans alike.
- Master planning
- Programming/concept design
- Bridging documents
- Market assessment
- Financial analysis
- Cost consulting