The Chicago City Council has approved the expansion of Fifth-Third Arena at 301 S. Damen. Located at the southwest corner of W. Jackson Blvd and S. Wood St, the expansion will move west towards S. Damen Ave, occupying 4.25 acres out of 7.12 acres the team has acquired.
Designed by Generator Studio, the expansion will consist of two regulation sized ice sheets with one such rink accommodating approximately 300 spectators and the other serving as a larger format rink with capacity of 1,500 spectators. The building will rise 44 feet against the existing arena and step up to 52 feet over the new westernmost ice rink.
The design complements the existing arena and breaks down the massing to improve the pedestrian experience and connect to the neighborhood. The main entry is pushed back from the street to create breathing room for pedestrians and help announce the entry. Glazing and lighting along the facade will contribute to improving the pedestrian experience and safety in the area. A smaller entryway on the south side of the building will cater to those coming from the Blue Line and the parking lot.
With Site Design Group on board, the landscaping will improve the pedestrian realm and lighten up W. Jackson Blvd. Exceeding the landscape ordinance, more than 60 trees will be added in addition to native plantings and an outdoor plaza. On the south side of the site, 215 parking spaces will be added to support the expansion.
With City Council approval secured, the site will be rezoned from B3-3 to C2-5 and the existing Planned Development is amended. Construction is expected to begin at the beginning of 2024 and wrap up in Q1 2026.
As a result of community and alderman input, the proposal has foregone the potential residential or hotel development initially included in the zoning application. Any development on the western end of the site would require a fully separate review and approval process.