Sterling Bay has brought Cubs owner Tom Ricketts on board with its plans to bring a professional soccer team to Lincoln Yards.
Under the deal, Ricketts will become majority owner of the United Soccer League expansion team that Sterling Bay bought in November. Sterling Bay will retain an ownership stake in the team itself and will develop and own the team’s 20,000-seat stadium that it is building in the Lincoln Yards development, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The deal brings in an experienced and successful sports franchise owner. Ricketts is chairman of the Cubs franchise his family bought in 2009, and he presided over the team’s 2016 World Series victory.
It could also bring some legitimacy to the team playing in a second-tier soccer league and competing with the Chicago Fire, the city’s more established Major League Soccer team.
Sterling Bay has planned a stadium at the Lincoln Yards site as far back as October as part of a bid to win Amazon’s HQ2 campus. It was one of five Chicago sites the e-commerce giant visited in March as part of its search for its second headquarters, according to the Tribune.
HQ2 could bring as many as 50,000 employees with it.
The 70-acre development is planned for a mostly industrial site straddling the Chicago River near the meeting of Cortland Street and Southport Avenue. It includes the site of the former A. Finkl & Sons steel plant.
The mixed-use project will include retail, office and residential space in a mix of buildings connected by green space.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is designing the master plan.
Sterling Bay plans to complete the stadium and start play there by 2021.