Alderman Brian Hopkins rejects planned Lincoln Yards soccer stadium

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Plans for the Lincoln Yards soccer stadium on Chicago's North Side have been rejected by Alderman Brian Hopkins.

In a statement Tuesday, the 2nd Ward alderman said he has requested that the site of the proposed stadium be repurposed as open and recreational park space.

Hopkins said he has told developer Sterling Bay that he does not support a proposed entertainment district that would have comprised of multiple venues with seating capacities of 3,000-6,000 and be co-owned by LiveNation.

"The Entertainment District will be eliminated from a revised plan, and replaced by restaurants, theaters, and smaller venues that will be scattered throughout the site. LiveNation will have no ownership interest in any of these venues," Hopkins said.

Hopkins said revised plans will go into newly revised Master Site Plan that will be submitted to the community to review.

The Ricketts family released a statement Tuesday morning saying, "The Ricketts family potential involvement was focused on the soccer team and contingent on city approvals. While we are disappointed the concept is no longer included in the master plan, we understand the ambitious Lincoln Yards project needs to move forward."

In a statement, Sterling Bay said, "Since our second public community meeting on November 29, 2018, Sterling Bay has continued to meet with Alderman Hopkins and members of the local community to hear their thoughts on Lincoln Yards. Thank you to those of you who have taken the time to share your ideas.

While much of the feedback has been positive, Alderman Hopkins and residents have been very clear: they do not want a stadium. And we want to say: we heard you loud and clear. We have removed the stadium and broken up the entertainment district, allowing for assorted smaller venues throughout Lincoln Yards where all independent music operators will have the opportunity to participate.

We have also heard the desire for improved transit and infrastructure in the area, a desire we share. Under our updated plan, the proposed Concord/Wisconsin Bridge will now be for both vehicular and pedestrian access. This bridge, along with the renovated Cortland Bridge, new Armitage bridge, new Dominick bridge, and extended 606, creates five viable routes across the Chicago River. Further, Alderman Hopkins has received a commitment from CDOT that they will swiftly pursue the realignment of Elston/Armitage/Ashland.

We are very excited about Lincoln Yards and updating the master site plan to reflect the changes outlined above. We look forward to sharing with you and bringing our vision to reality."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is encouraged that both Hopkins and Sterling Bay are both working to figure out the best plan for the area.

"I want a fair, balanced, equitable approach that creates winners all across the board. that allows development to happen, economic growth, job creation to happen but in a way that enhances the whole community," Emanuel said.

Omitting the soccer stadium is also a setback for Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, who was hoping to bring another professional soccer team to Chicago.

Ray Lopez, the Alderman of the 15th Ward on Chicago's Southwest Side, said he would welcome the soccer stadium in his ward and plans to speak with Mayor Emanuel's representatives to see if that could be a possibility.
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