The Chicago Fire today announced that discussions are underway for a new performance and training facility in the Roosevelt Square area on the Near West Side.
The club is looking at 30 acres of vacant Chicago Housing Authority land as a headquarters and training center that would house the Fire and Fire Academy teams. As part of a long-term lease agreement, the Fire would develop the multi-million dollar facility, and, according to a news release, would “provide a variety of community benefits and public investments into neighboring public housing sites, long-term employment for community members, and recreational opportunities for youth.”
The proposed site sits between Roosevelt Road, Ashland Avenue, 14th Street and Loomis Street. The site was previously occupied by portions of CHA’s former ABLA Homes.
“The Chicago Fire, which is one of our city’s greatest sports teams, deserves to have a high-quality training facility that not only meets their needs but fosters the growth of talented athletes,” Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot said in a news release. “This potential new facility will not only fulfill this need, but also provide the surrounding West Side community with job, recreational and other incredible opportunities in the future. I look forward to discussing this exciting project further with the Fire, Alderman Ervin, and the CHA in the coming days.”
Currently, the Fire have a lease to train at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, where the team played its home games before moving back to Soldier Field in 2020. In the last couple years, the club has invested money to improve the weight room and locker rooms at the facility, and has added several new turf fields for the Fire Academy. But, it’s still surrounded by eyesores, and the Fire are forced to share the indoor facility on the site—the Bridgeview Sports Dome—with the public. The new facility would be in the City of Chicago, much closer to Soldier Field, would be much larger and more advanced, and would allow the Fire more control over its training operations.
“The Chicago Fire Football Club is committed to making a difference in the lives of young people and communities through soccer,” Fire President Ishwara Glassman Chrein said in a news release. “In neighborhoods across the city, soccer brings people together, fostering a strong sense of history and community while showing immense passion for the game. We look forward to presenting the project to the local community, hearing their feedback, and creating new opportunities for residents of the Near West Side to enjoy the game.”
Community meetings on the project will begin in March. More information on the meetings is forthcoming, and will be posted at chicago.gov/chicagofire.