Planning Strategy for the United Center:
A Redevelopment Plan for the United Center and its Surrounding Surface Parking Lots
Sean P. Terry
Masters in Urban Planning and Policy Candidate
College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs
University of Illinois at Chicago
November 20, 2006
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Statement of Planning Problem
Intent for Work
History of West Haven
Historical Perspective on Madison Street
STADIUM DEVELOPMENT – THE NEAR WEST SIDE
The Chicago Stadium
The United Center
REDLINING AND RECOMMENDATIONS – THE UNITED CENTER
Overview of Current Physical Conditions of the Site and Recommendations for Improvement
List of Figures, Tables and Charts
The United Center, located on 1901 W. Madison, is home to the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks, the respective professional basketball and hockey teams for the city of Chicago. Constructed in 1992, the United Center was built to replace its once longstanding predecessor, Chicago Stadium, a structure that previously sat on virtually the same footprint for sixty-five years. Since the United Center opened in 1994, the stadium has come to be identified as a major anchor for Chicago’s Near West Side Community, and has become a source for major tourist attraction.
Since its inception and development, the United Center and the owners, Jerry Reinsdorf (Bulls) and William Wirtz (Blackhawks), have shown a moderate level of commitment to the community in which the stadium is situated. Whether it was the agreement reached with the Near West Side Community Development Corporation to assist in the development of replacement housing for the families displaced as a result of the stadium development in 1992, or the continued social services support to families in transition from the Henry Horner Homes, the United Center and its operators have proved they not only understand how to successfully build a stadium and operate a profitable business, but they also have come to understand the importance of reinvesting in the social and physical fabric of the communities they represent. The following are just some of the programs either initiated or contributed to by the Chicago Bulls – Community Relations Division. These programs benefit the near west side, the nearby community to the United Center.
The United Center Community Involvement
• Adopt-A-School – The United Center has adopted two community grammar schools (William H. Brown – 54 N. Hermitage and Victor Herbert – 2131 W. Monroe) Contributing in-kind donations (player appearances, ticket donations, autographed items, arena tours and souvenirs) and financial donations. • United Center Joint Venture Scholarships - Annually awards $20,000 in scholarships to qualified students attending Malcolm X College. • Near West Side Community Relations - The United Center has donated over $1 million to support The Home Visitors Program (HVP) – a community initiative headed by the Near West Side CDC that focuses on transitioning former residents of CHA’s Henry Horner Homes into mixed income neighborhoods. • United Center Community Economic Development Fund - $1 million fund was developed to stimulate new business and create new jobs in the neighborhood. • CharitaBulls Programs: James Jordan Boys and Girls Club and Family Life Center CharitaBulls donated $4.5 million to construct the 40,000 square foot facility located just two blocks from the United Center. The Club features a computer center, art studio, science lab, healthcare clinic, gym, daycare center, dance and game room, classrooms and more. [i]
As the Near West Side continues to grow and develop, it is more important than ever to not only support the new influx of housing and residents moving into...
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