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Bulls to build practice facility next to United Center

(MCT) — The Chicago Bulls and Mayor Rahm Emanuel this morning announced that the NBA basketball team will build a new practice facility adjacent to the United Center, with completion expected in time for the 2014-2015 season.

The new facility, which will be paid for by the Bulls, will be built on Parking Lot J, just east of the center, across South Wood Street between Monroe and Madison Streets.

These details about location and timing give further shape to the team's planned move, first announced in June.

The Bulls have practiced at the Sheri L. Berto Center in Deerfield since 1992.  The team intends to sell that facility. 

The lead architect for the new 55,000-square-foot facility will be 360 Architects and the general contractor will be McHugh Construction. 

The Bulls made a commitment to provide opportunities for Chicago-based companies, including women- and minority-owned businesses, the team and the mayor said in their joint announcement.

Emanuel and Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said the project will foster continued revitalization of the Near West Side.  

"The Bulls are an iconic championship team and a source of pride for our city," Emanuel said in a prepared statement. "Their future, and the future of the West Side, is bright."

Reinsdorf said Emanuel played a role in the decision to move the facility, presenting a pitch that "the Bulls represent the spirit and competitive grit of Chicago."

"We had been contemplating how to address the growing demands on our current practice facility for awhile," Reinsdorf said, "so the mayor's timing and ours made sense." 

DePaul University, which is looking to bring its men's basketball to the city from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, is scouting a number of potential sites. A United Center practice facility has been discussed as an option, as has the possibility of building an arena near McCormick Place.

The United Center is owned by a joint venture that includes Reinsdorf and Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz.

The practice center would be next to the site where United Center's owners are considering building an entertainment complex, on Parking Lot H at Wood and Madison streets. The proposed complex would house team offices, four restaurants, four bars, an event space and a team store, according to development plans.

That project has been stalled as ownership seeks an extension of tax incentives set to expire in 2016, sources have said.

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