DePaul Arena Budget Balloons to $250 Million: Report

The much-hyped Blue Demons stadium is plagued by major cost issues.

The budget to build a DePaul University basketball stadium in the South Loop has reportedly grown to $250 million, a figure that stretches well past early cost projections for the site.

Crain's Chicago Business reports that the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority is in talks with a developer, Clark Construction Group, on an imminent contract for the arena (to be dubbed the McCormick Place Event Center) as well as a Marriott hotel right next door. According to the business trade, citing unnamed sources,"the two sides are struggling with a price tag that has soared to as much as $250 million, about 75 percent more than the original estimate" of $140 million.

While the price of the hotel is reported to be within the ballpark of $400 million, as initially projected, the arena is cause for hand-wringing: A subterranean "dug-in" floor has added to the nine-figure bill, "sending McPier and DePaul officials looking for new financing options and changes to the design that would lower the cost," said Crain's.

Both McPier and the university had agreed to split the bill 50-50, each contributing $70 million, with the former using cash from prior bond sales to pay for the stadium. DePaul had aimed to break ground in 2015 and get the arena ready for the Blue Demons' 2016-2017 season.

Back in June, DePaul released new images of the 10,000-seat arena, which is part of a big, splashy venture to develop the area around McCormick Center. 

Controversy has long clouded the project, which was announced in May 2013, with critics among DePaul's faculty recently claiming it is "wildly out of line with other university priorities."

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