DePaul Proposes 10-Year Expansion Plan

DePaul University wants to add a 140-room hotel, dorms and 44,000 square feet of retail space to its Lincoln Park campus, on the corner of Fullerton and Sheffield.

The additions, part of the school's draft 10-year plan, also include expanding the facilities for the Theater School and School of Music to add classrooms and performance areas.

"Both are nationally renowned programs and we’re looking to have facilities that match the stature of those programs,” DePaul spokesman John Holden says.

The plan is also aimed at making the campus easier to navigate for pedestrians. DePaul has proposed closing North Kenmore between Belden and Fullerton to cars, turning it into a pedestrian mall.

DePaul's plan for the corner of Fullerton and Sheffield calls for a six-story building that would include a hotel, retail space, residences for students, a welcome center and conference rooms. The addition will allow parking for approximately 200 cars.

The hotel will cater to prospective students and their families.

“A lot of people are coming to visit and faculty, staff and students coming in and out, so we have a very limited lodging options in the larger Lincoln park area,” says Holden.

A new four-story academic building could rise along Kenmore, about a block south of the planned hotel.

The university also wants to add a museum and art gallery next to the Fullerton El station.

Padraic Swanton, spokesman for the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, says the group supports the plan.

"We’re excited to see the changes they bring and there is definitely an opportunity for the business community to grow because of it,” he says.

Holden says DePaul worked closely with community representatives and Alderman Scott Waguespack (D-32) and Alderman Vi Daley (D-43) to ensure both DePaul and their surrounding neighbors would be satisfied with the plan.

Last Wednesday, DePaul held a public meeting that drew about 75 people. The plan so far has faced little public opposition, Holden says.

Daley’s chief of staff, Chuck Eastwood, says some community members are concerned about the proposed building on the north side of Fullerton.

Eastwood says community members raised questions about pedestrian safety because currently there is no signal on Fullerton between Sheffield and Seminary.

Eastwood says neighbors see problems currently at Belden and Sheffield, a similar intersection.

“It’s an un-signaled intersection, Belden and Sheffield, so students cross as they will,” says Eastwood.

Holden says the plan must be approved by the City Council. If the City Council approves the plan, Holden estimates it will be a few years before DePaul will break ground.