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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.



MPEA and the Teamsters, Carpenters, Decorators and Riggers union extended through 2005 a historic labor agreement that helps solidify Chicago as a premier convention and trade show destination.


The Illinois Legislature approves the expansion plan for McCormick Place which will add 470,000 square feet of exhibit space and 250,000 square feet of meeting room space including the city's largest ballroom. The original target date for opening the new McCormick Place West Building is set for 2008. 

• In August, to meet the increasing demand for meeting space, the Hyatt Regency® McCormick Place Conference Center opens. The new facility is owned by the MPEA and operated by the Hyatt. The new Hyatt Conference Center and adjoining 2,450 space parking garage are located opposite the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place hotel and the South Building.


The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority unveils the new McCormick Place busway in January. The new 2.5 mile roadway alongside the Metra /IC Railroad tracks through Grant Park will be used by shuttle buses transporting attendees between McCormick Place and downtown hotels. The new busway is the first of its kind designed for convention and trade show travel. It is jointly operated by the MPEA, the City of Chicago and Metra.


The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority selects Mc4West, LLC as the design/build team for the McCormick Place West expansion project. The Mc4West team is comprised of essentially the same team that delivered the McCormick Place South expansion on schedule and under budget.


The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority officially embarks on the next major phase of the evolution of McCormick Place convention center. 

• In May, an official groundbreaking ceremony marks the beginning of the construction phase of the McCormick Place West Building. One of the first major milestones of the project includes the successful relocation of the architecturally significant Platt Luggage façade to its new location at 2203 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.


• In May, Navy Pier celebrates its 10th anniversary with special festivities and entertainment.

• Also in May, the MPEA establishes the Labor Management Council to review issues related to cost, efficiency and the overall show experience.


The economic impact for the city of the more than 75 events booked into McCormick Place totals nearly $3.4 billion. Almost all shows booked at McCormick Place break records for attendance and exhibitors.

• In January, MPEA officials announce that the West Building will open eight months early and on budget. 

• In May, Riggers Union Local 136 signs a precedent-setting five-year labor agreement that results in more efficient service and increased savings for McCormick Place customers.

• In August, the United Steelworkers Local 17 Decorators Union also reaches its own landmark agreement with the show contractors who work at McCormick Place, resulting in more flexibility and reduced costs for both exhibitors and show management.


McCormick Place Complex • In August, the new McCormick Place West Building opens, adding 2.7 million gross square feet of space to the McCormick Place complex and featuring 460,000 square feet of exhibit space; 250,000 square feet of meeting space; one of the world's largest and most elegant ballrooms.

• In August, McCormick Place West becomes the largest new-construction building in the country to receive the coveted LEED® Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its environmentally-friendly design.


• In June, major trade show contractors and the union representing the largest single group of workers on the trade show floor announced a new collective bargaining agreement designed to further reduce costs for McCormick Place exhibitors and provide them with greater operational flexibility

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