History demolished and discovered at the J.L. Higgie Building

J.L. Higgie Building demolition

One of the highly-coveted plaques, on the Harrison elevation, of the J.L. Higgie Building.

The J.L. Higgie Building at 1909 West Ogden Avenue in the Illinois Medical District is history, having been demolished over the past couple weeks by Heneghan Wrecking. The triangular building bounded by Ogden, Harrison, and Wolcott, built in the 1880s, was built by Higgie to be the offices of his tugboat company.

But speaking of history, demolition unearthed a treasure of it, as Heneghan discovered stacks of old newspapers where Mr. Higgie kept his offices. I got a good look at a couple of them, including a front page from February 5, 1930 (Chicago was having gang problems in those days) and a sports page from January 25, 1930 (the Chicago Blackhawks were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates in Atlantic City.)

J.L. Higgie Building demolition

January 25, 1930: The Pittsburgh Pirates moved their game against the Blackhawks 400 miles east because “Smoky City” fans weren’t showing up. Ouch.

Construction Progress: Chicago Blackhawks Community Training Center

Chicago Blackhawks Community Training Center

Work continues on the Chicago Blackhawks Community Training Center.

At 1801 West Jackson Boulevard on the west side, McHugh Construction continues working on the Chicago Blackhawks Community Training Center. Wingers, defensemen, and goalies will be able to use it too though. The two-story, 125,000-square-foot facility, designed by HOK, replaces the original, now-demolished Malcolm X College, which became expendable when a new facility was built across the street.

In addition to providing practice surfaces for the Blackhawks and visiting NHL teams, the center will provide youth hockey development, and host recreational hockey leagues as well. It is expected to open in December of this year.

Construction Progress: Chicago Blackhawks Training Center

Blackhawks Training Center

The Chicago Blackhawks Community Training Center on the city’s west side.

On the grounds of now-demolished Malcom X College (which just happens to be across the street from the brand-new Malcolm X College), the Chicago Blackhawks Community Training Center is being constructed at 1801 West Jackson Boulevard. McHugh Construction has pulled off quite the power play, linking steel together to form the facility’s frame, and even getting the roof in place. The One Goal? Have the center open in December 2017.

HOK designed the dual-rink, 125,000-square-foot icehouse.

Construction Update: The United Center signs an extension

United Center office

Lots of glass on the new 6-story office building at The United Center.

An extension *of* the United Center, that is. The 22-year-old arena, home to the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks, broke ground last year on a 6-story, 250,00-square-foot office building in the parking lot immediately east of the stadium. That office building will be the new home of employees of the Bulls and Blackhawks, as well as United Center staff. The new structure will also feature a new team store, and a 25,000-square-foot atrium that will connect old building to new. Designed by HOK and being built by McHugh Construction, it is scheduled to be complete in time for the 2016-2017 NBA and NHL seasons.

 

 

Though technically not a rebuilding year, the Blackhawks *are* building

Chicago Blackhawks Community Training Center

Caisson crews work on foundations, even as demolition crews tear down the remainder of Malcolm X College.

On the site where the old Malcolm X College is being demolished as we speak, McHugh Construction crews are doing foundation work for the new Chicago Blackhawks Community Training Center. Designed by HOK, the 125,000-square-foot facility will serve not only the Blackhawks and their visiting opponents, but the entire Chicago hockey-playing community as well. How? Well, I could go on and on about it, but I suggest you read it straight from the team’s mouth. View the press release here, or read it in full after the foundation work photos below:

 

 

The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that the organization will build a 125,000-square-foot community training center for youth hockey development programs, recreational leagues and other events, which will also serve as the practice facility for the Blackhawks and visiting National Hockey League teams.

The state-of-the-art facility will be located two blocks south of the United Center on a 4-acre site currently housing Malcolm X College, which is expected to move into its own new building north of Jackson Boulevard in January 2016. The privately funded project will cost approximately $50 million and is being designed to contain two NHL regulation-size ice rinks, spectator seating and a dedicated oasis parking lot to serve facility guests and buses (renderings attached). In total, approximately 94 percent of the proposed facility’s utilization will serve the surrounding community, including young adult, youth and community programs that may not have the means to play otherwise.

“Hockey’s future is dictated by the ability of kids to get on the ice,” Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz said. “For those in urban areas like Chicago, that’s an incredible challenge. We want to provide our community the opportunity to learn how to skate and help them develop a love and passion for the sport that has brought so much joy to Chicago and the region these past few years.”

HOK and McHugh Construction are working to finalize the design and engineering of the ice rink. Since opening in 1994, the United Center–a join initiative owned by the Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls–has invested over $180 million in construction costs for the stadium and over $100 million in area improvements.

The facility will offer special programs dedicated to serving youth in partnership with the Chicago Park District, open-skate ice times and community events, including hockey and figure skate rentals, ice rentals for adult and youth recreation leagues and local, national, international, collegiate and amateur tournament play.

Per USA Hockey, Illinois ranked fifth in the nation with 30,553 registered hockey players during the 2014-15 season, marking a 37.5 percent increase in membership since the 2007-08 season, which is the second-largest percent increase among USA Hockey regional affiliates. Since 2007-08, Illinois saw the largest total increase in participants among USA Hockey regional affiliates with 8,331 new members. The Blackhawks currently have partnerships with 56 hockey rinks in Illinois, but only four exist within the city of Chicago.

“The addition of a Blackhawks training and community facility is another step in the progress and advancement of our franchise as we continue to strive for consistent excellence both on and off the ice,” said Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough.

“Soon Malcolm X will get a new 21st century campus to complement the 21st century education they provide and a site that used to serve one of Chicago’s community colleges will soon serve as a community anchor, bringing even more economic opportunity to the Near North Side,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This plan creates a permanent home for the Blackhawks to train in Chicago and allows Rush University Medical Center, which has already been a great partner with Malcolm X, to expand it campus and further support the people who live and work in this neighborhood.”

Chicago Blackhawks Charities (CBC) will oversee year-round youth programs and clinics at the training center, ensuring the project’s community benefits extend to those who would otherwise be unable to cover the costs of ice time, equipment and transportation. CBC pledges to support programs and institutions throughout Illinois that focus on health and wellness, education and housing, while striving to serve local citizens and impact the lives of youth and their families in and around the city of Chicago. Since its inception in October 1993, Chicago Blackhawks Charities has contributed over $14 million to local non-profit organizations, including over $2 million over the past year to 28 community organizations that focus on health and wellness, education and housing.

“Any kid that wants to ‘Be Like Mike’ can go down the street and shoot hoops,” Wirtz said. “It’s a little tougher if a kid wants to be the next Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews. We’re thrilled to make this investment in our community and give more kids the opportunity to learn to skate and play this great game.”

Quick Look: Is it demolition? Is it construction? Well, yes it is.

Chicago Blackhawks Community Training Center

CAISSONS. DEMOLITION. BLOWN MIND.

Now there’s something you don’t see every day.

Even as demolition crews are tearing apart the old Malcolm X College, construction crews are busy doing caisson work for the Chicago Blackhawks Community Training Center. And they don’t appear to be getting in each other’s way.

Malcolm X College is being destroyed because a new campus was just completed on the other side of Jackson Boulevard. In July of last year, the Blackhawks announced they’d be using the same site for their new training digs, which they broke ground on in June of this year. McHugh Construction is the general contractor for the HOK design.

Chicago Blackhawks Community Training Center

It’s two job sites in one.

 

Demolition, Man! Old Malcolm X College Meets The Wrecking Ball

Malcolm X College

Demolition continues at the old Malcolm X College. How many students passed through these doors over the years?

The saddest demolitions occur when a building needs to come down without a replacement. A church burns, and a congregation has no meeting place. A hospital is torn down, and patients have no where to turn for care. A school is leveled, and students have to be bused for miles to finish their education.

Two current, high-profile demos in Chicago are fortunate in that sense. I stopped by the old Children’s Memorial Hospital this week, for its first day of destruction. The old facility has been closed for four years now, after the new Lurie Children’s Hospital was constructed in Streeterville and all patients were transferred without interruption of care.

Such is the case with the old Malcolm X College demolition as well. A brand new facility opened at 1900 West Jackson Boulevard for the 2016 school year, leaving the old school across the street empty. So Heneghan Wrecking started tearing it down this spring. Will something take it’s place? Of course, and I’m gonna let the Chicago Blackhawks tell you all about it. That way, I have more room for photos.