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McCormick Place History

- Jan 10, 2018 -

McCormick Place History

McCormick Place is named in honor of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, a controversial and charismatic visionary who served as editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. It was Colonel McCormick who spearheaded the drive to build a world-class convention center in the city of Chicago.

Under Colonel McCormick's leadership, the state endorsed construction of a permanent exhibition hall to host conventions and trade shows. Col. McCormick never lived to see his dream become a reality. The facility bearing his name opened in 1960, five years after his death.



McCormick Place South The Illinois General Assembly authorizes the building and financing of a proposed $987 million expansion to McCormick Place. Will become the South Building. The expansion was financed by those industries deemed to directly benefit from the complex. The funding sources include the following:

• A 6% fee on auto rentals in Cook County

• A 2.5% tax on hotel/motel rooms in Chicago

• A 1% tax on restaurant meals in a downtown district bounded by the Stevenson Expressway, Ashland Avenue and Diversey, as well as meals served at Midway & O'Hare Airports

• A ground transportation fee from O'Hare and Midway Airports

ALSO, the MPEA receives the tax revenue surplus, if any, from the Illinois Sports Facility Authority.


The new McCormick Place South Building opens. The expansion project adds 2.9 million gross square feet to the McCormick Place complex and features 840,000 square feet of exhibition space, plus 160,000 square feet of meeting room space.


With a new look and name, the Lakeside Center (formerly the East Building) reopens. Lakeside Center provides 583,000 square feet of exhibit space and is home to the renovated 4,249 seat Arie Crown Theater. 

• In June, the MPEA unveils the $108 million 33-story Hyatt Regency® McCormick Place Hotel. With 800-guest rooms and a 600-car parking garage, the hotel is an integral part of the convention center operations.

• The MPEA embarks on a plan to build a new six level parking garage, conference center, corporate center and a dedicated bus lane designed to connect McCormick Place to downtown Chicago. In July, Governor Jim Edgar signs a bill which allows McCormick Place to issue $100 million in bonds for the project.


The Illinois legislature approves a debt-restructuring plan for the MPEA, which results in the issuance of $270 million of new bonds. Of this amount, $198 million is used for refinancing and $72 million for repairs and new projects at McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

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