Chicago’s Pullman and Roseland neighborhoods came together to celebrate construction of the Pullman Community Center, the largest athletic facility of its kind in Illinois providing athletic, cultural and academic opportunities for far South Side youths and residents.
When it’s completed this fall, the $20 million, 135,000-square-foot facility at 10355 S. Woodlawn Avenue will offer year-round sports, educational and cultural programming and feature three indoor playing fields and surfaces for basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball and football as well as flexible space for community events, exhibitions, classrooms, camps and tournaments. The center will have capacity to host up to 1,200 teams and as many as an estimated 50,000 participants, spectators and visitors annually.
“This represents the most substantial community athletic project of its kind,” said Tom Ricketts, chairman, Chicago Cubs. “This facility will inject new life into the game of baseball and it is my hope we will have future All Stars come out of this facility to make a Major League roster one day.”
“The Chicago Bears have a long history of promoting health and fitness, and we are excited to expand our investment in Chicago’s young people by supporting this wonderful new facility,” said Pat McCaskey, vice president, Chicago Bears. “We know that athletics pay dividends in the lives of young people, their healthy development and the unity and vibrancy of their communities.”
Under construction on 12 acres of vacant land donated by Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI), the Pullman Community Center is the latest milestone for the historic Pullman neighborhood, which has been revitalized by $250 million of new investments that have created over 1,100 jobs in the past few years. Among the projects are a new Whole Foods Midwest Distribution center, a second Gotham Greens greenhouse, the 111th Street Gateway Retail Center and Pullman Park, a commercial center anchored by a Walmart Supercenter. The construction of the Pullman Community Center has created 120 jobs.
“We are thrilled U.S. Bank, the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears, Ford Motor Company and all of our community partners recognize the positive economic and social impact we’ve made in Pullman and together have invested in the community center to ensure we continue that trajectory into the future,” said 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale. “We’re creating a place where people of all ages, skills and interests will come together in a safe and nurturing environment to play sports, learn and be active which will [make] our community a destination where more people will want to go to work and to live.”
The $20 million in funding for the development has been secured with investments, grants and donations by the Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs Charities, Chicago Community Loan Fund, Chicago’s Environmental Loan Fund, Chicago Housing Authority, Citibank, the city of Chicago, ESPN, Exelon, LISC/Chicago, National Community Investment Fund (NCIF), NFL Grassroots, the state of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, U.S. Bank and Wintrust. The project is being financed utilizing new markets tax credits provided by Citibank, U.S. Bank and NCIF, bringing $5 million in additional equity to the capital stack.
“Facilities like this anchor communities across Chicago, expanding recreational and educational opportunities for our residents,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “By investing in Pullman today, we are honoring its historic past and making it an even better place to live, work and play.”
The community center is scheduled to employ as many as 100 full and part-time and seasonal employees, coaches, instructors and management annually. Some of the new employees will come from a partnership between CNI, Chicago CRED and a workforce development program for at-risk neighborhood youth who will transition into employment opportunities at the Center.
CNI is developing the Pullman Community Center’s site. It will be owned jointly by the Chicago Park District and the Roseland Youth Center. The Center’s year-round athletic, academic and cultural programs as well as daily operation will be managed by the Roseland Youth Center, which already operates a variety of sports activities at different area locations. The new structure is being built by Raffin Construction and has been designed by ZPD+A Architects.