Blackhawks and Rush to use current Malcolm X campus site
September 4, 2015
The Chicago Blackhawks plan a new ice rink practice facility, which also will be used for youth hockey programs, on the current Malcolm X College site.

The Chicago Blackhawks plan a new ice rink practice facility, which also will be used for youth hockey programs, on the current Malcolm X College site.

By Dan Kolen and Mary Voelker

Rush University Medical Center and the Chicago Blackhawks are teaming up to take over an 11-acre space where Malcolm X College, which soon will relocate, now stands at 1900 W. Van Buren St. The City will spend $8 million to demolish the current Malcolm X building and will sell the land to Rush and the Blackhawks for $24.3 million.

The City will credit an additional $2.3 million to Rush and the Blackhawks for “community benefits,” according to Elizabeth Langsdorf, assistant press secretary for the City of Chicago, who said, “all numbers are approximate.”

The money the City will receive for the land matches what its third party appraiser quoted, according to Langsdorf.

“Soon Malcolm X will get a new 21st century campus to complement the 21st century education they provide, and a site that used to serve one of Chicago’s community colleges will soon serve as a community anchor, bringing even more economic opportunity,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“This plan creates a permanent home for the Blackhawks to train in Chicago and allows Rush University Medical Center, which has already been a great partner with Malcolm X, to expand its campus and further support the people who live and work in this neighborhood,” Emanuel added.

Rush plans
Rush administrators are working on plans for the site, as Rush’s four colleges have doubled enrollment over the past decade and now educate 2,500 students. Rush reports it has created more than 1,200 jobs during that time. “Since the university opened nearly 45 years ago, the way students are educated has changed dramatically,” said Larry Goodman, MD, Rush CEO and president of Rush University.

“We need to invest in facilities and technology to support new models of education while considering the experiential needs of current and future students and faculty.”

Goodman compared the work planned for the Malcolm X site to the work Rush put into its last major hospital construction project three years ago, saying, “we will be equally diligent in planning to ensure that our students and faculty have an exceptional environment and campus experience and even more innovative partnerships with community organizations and institutions.”

The new Chicago Blackhawks facility will feature two hockey rinks.

The new Chicago Blackhawks facility will feature two hockey rinks.

Blackhawks facility
The Blackhawks will use the 125,000-square-foot space as a community training center for youth hockey programs, and the team will use it as a practice facility.

Located two blocks south of the United Center, that proximity will be convenient for the reigning Stanley Cup champs. The Blackhawks estimate construction will cost $50 million, and the facility will include two NHL regulation rinks, stands for spectators, and parking. The team estimates 94% of the space will be used for community programs.

“Hockey’s future is dictated by the ability of kids to get on the ice,” Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said. “For those in urban areas like Chicago, that’s an incredible challenge. We want to provide our community the opportunity to learn how to skate and help them develop a love and passion for the sport that has brought so much joy to Chicago and the region these past few years.”

Illinois has seen a 37.5% increase in youth hockey team membership since the 2007-08 season and now has 30,553 registered hockey players, according to USA Hockey.

“Any kid that wants to ‘be like Mike’ can go down the street and shoot hoops,” Wirtz said. “It’s a little tougher if a kid wants to be the next Jonathan Toews. We’re thrilled to make this investment in our community and give more kids the opportunity to learn to skate and play this great game.”

Opportunity area
The area in which the construction will occur, which the City designates as the Eisenhower Corridor, is one of seven “opportunity areas” identified for economic development, housing, and quality of life, according to the Chicago Neighborhoods Now (CNN) initiative.

The area has seen $475 million in planned and completed investments recently, including a new Pete’s Fresh Market and upgrades to Chicago Transit Authority and Union Park Field House facilities.

“I’m thrilled that the new Blackhawks training facility will be a part of the 27th Ward and that the community will benefit from the use of the ice and activities,” said Ald. Walter Burnett. “This will bring more people to the area and help generate even more development.” Malcolm X began construction on its new campus in September 2013 and plans to begin classes at the new facility in January 2016.

Officials estimate the development will cost $251 million, which represents nearly half the City Colleges of Chicago’s five-year, $524 million capital plan. The new college site is located between Jackson Boulevard, Adams Street, Damen Avenue, and Wood Street. It will provide 544,000 square feet and allow Malcolm X to increase the student body by 43% to 20,000 students.

“Our first priority in building a new campus is to ensure our students are prepared to hit the ground running in 21st-century careers,” City Colleges chancellor Cheryl Hyman said. “The construction phase of this project will provide an educational institution that is reflective of the communities we serve and will advance economic opportunities for all Chicagoans.”