The Chicago Blackhawks are flexing their muscles, proposing to add to the NHL team’s planned $65 million expansion of the Fifth Third Arena, where it’s currently training.

A business controlled by the Wirtz family, which owns the Blackhawks, is seeking city approval to build as many as 1,200 residential units and 663 hotel rooms two blocks south of Crain’s, its game-day venue, United Center Report.

The team submitted a zoning application to request the development of a mix of residential, hotel and retail projects in a future phase following the expansion of their practice facility. Renderings were not included in the mixed-use proposal, and the team said such a project would require site planning approval from the city.

In a separate proposal two blocks east of the United Center, a church wants to build a new site so it can leave land it owns near the site of the West River Bally Casino development. In a future phase near the arena, the church will see a 12-storey building with 76 residential units, according to the outlet.

Together, the proposals continue a boom in new development over the past decade in the area between downtown and their home courts for the Chicago Blackhawks and Bulls, with large buildings popping up in the Fulton Market, a new hotspot for commercial real estate.

The Wirtz family, which co-owns the United Center with Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, has spearheaded growth in the area, beginning with the opening of the Fifth Third Arena community rink in 2017. Earlier this year, the family purchased a seven-acre site at 303 South Damen Drive for nearly $24 million as part of an expansion plan that required two more rinks and 135,000 square feet of additional space .

Near Fifth Third Arena, the City Church of Chicago is proposing a new two-story building at 116-138 South Paulina Street that will house a 1,500-seat auditorium.According to the outlet, the building will occupy more than 40,000 square feet, with plans for a second phase of expansion of more than 28,000 square feet, with 76 units over 12 floors

As for the timeline, the Blackhawks hope to have the new hockey facility complete by 2026, but have not yet committed to making progress for the potential adjacent housing and lodging portion.

— Quinn Donoghue

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