Chicago Alderman Rejects Proposed Lincoln Yards Entertainment District

Sterling Bay’s proposed entertainment district within Chicago’s Lincoln Yards development has been rejected by 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins. Plans for the new development included a 20,000 seat soccer stadium and multiple venues seating 3,000 to 6,000 people spearheaded by Live Nation. All this has been thrown out of the plan. Since Alderman Hopkins has removed his support, Sterling Bay is forced to revise their plans for the megadevelopment.

“There wasn’t sufficient support and it didn’t seem to be like a solvable problem,” Alderman Hopkins told Curbed Chicago. “It seemed like elements would have still been objectionable, it wasn’t something that could be modified.”

Lincoln Yards is still happening, but the entertainment district will be replaced with “restaurants, theaters, and smaller venues scattered throughout the site,” according to the official announcement sent via email. This also means Live Nation will no longer be involved.

This news comes as a relief to not only residents who opposed the entertainment district but also to Chicago’s independent music venues. The Empty Bottle, The Hideout, Thalia Hall, Metro, Subterranean, Schubas, Lincoln Hall, and others feared the proposed entertainment district would put the city’s indie music scene in danger. They teamed up to form the Chicago Independent Venues League or C.I.V.L. and asked Sterling Bay to be more transparent in their plans. They also published a list of recommendations, which included slowing down the development process, and met with Alderman Hopkins to voice their concerns.

The entertainment district may be dead, but the coalition is still concerned with Sterling Bay’s request for the city to create a 168-acre TIF district in the area that would generate an estimated $800 million in taxpayer-funding, yet most of the funds would go to subsidize private development.

They recently published a letter to Crain’s Chicago regarding TIFs on their website saying “Responsible development will bring desperately needed new tax revenues to our indebted city government. It will bring new blood into the city and new patrons into our venues. But when we talk about TIFs, we’re talking about using taxpayers’ money. And those funds should be spent on projects that benefit the entire city and all the taxpayers.”

They continued “So let’s slow the process down and open it up. Give CIVL input in the planning. We are the musical entertainment experts around here. Listen to school and park advocates. And let the new mayor and City Council make the final decisions.”

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Ashley Perez Hollingsworth

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on AXS, Chicago Innerview, New City, The Millions, and Illinois Entertainer. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Creeper, and Green Day.

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