New DePaul arena’s budget increases by $12.5 million

The latest rendering of DePaul’s arena located in the South Loop. The project is now expected to cost $12.5 million more than previously planned, bringing DePaul’s total cost to $82.5 million. (Photo courtesy of DePaul Athletics)
The latest rendering of DePaul’s arena located in the South Loop. The project is now expected to cost $12.5 million more than previously planned, bringing DePaul’s total cost to $82.5 million. (Photo courtesy of DePaul Athletics)

In October, DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto praised the open communication between the Metropolitan Pier  and Exposition Authority and DePaul, saying how DePaul has been kept up to date in the process. 

In December, it was announced that process will cost more than previously planned.

The  Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees voted on  Dec. 8 to pay $12.5 million more than the original estimated $70-75 million for the university’s new basketball arena in the South Loop, bringing the new estimated amount to $82.5 million.

In a memo circulated to faculty, former interim president Patricia O’Donoghue said that the building has been redesigned, “raising it to ground level and accepting a number of other engineering changes.” The changes are the reason for the increased cost.

O’Donoghue said that the change in cost won’t affect student tuition or the operating budgets in place, despite university-wide mandated cuts in spending at the end of the fiscal year.

“DePaul has built or renovated more than a dozen buildings in the past 15 years, and is well familiar with having to adjust the funding or change the design for projects as costs become clearer once they are bid to contractors,” O’Donoghue said in a memo. “Thankfully, DePaul’s commitment to complete the project with no impact to student tuition or operation budgets remains in place.

“Current estimates continue to show that naming rights, corporate sponsorships, ticket sales and fundraising will offset the anticipated project construction cost increases,” she said.

The total cost of the arena construction will be
$164 million between DePaul and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (McPier), $150 million for the Event Center’s construction and an additional $14 million for “soft costs.” McPier also paid
$40 million for the cost of the land, which is located on the corner Prairie Avenue and Cermak Road.

In a press release Nov. 25, McPier said that they and DePaul asked the design firm Pelli Clarke Pelli to adjust the initial design to bring the arena floor to street level and add 12 feet of height to the building.

To shoulder the increase of costs, DePaul and McPier will split the estimated 25 million in half.

“DePaul is making a substantial investment in this facility along with (McPier). We would not have been able to build the event center without DePaul’s participation,” McPier CEO Jim Reilly said in the release. “In addition, the University will pay at- or above-market rent for using the facility. When you add it all up, DePaul is getting its long-sought home court in Chicago while also supporting the city’s tourism and convention industry.”

The project is slated to break ground in the second quarter of 2015, delayed further from the original estimated start date of January. Handling the construction will be “The Prairie District Partners,” a construction group composed of Clark Construction Group-Chicago LLC, Bulley & Andrews LLC, McKissack & McKissack Midwest, Old Veteran Construction, Goettsch Partners and Moody Nolan.

The completion of the project is anticipated to be finished in 2017.