Chicago's Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority (McPier) recently named "six top-tier architectural firms as finalists" for DePaul Univ.'s proposed arena, but the process has "all the trappings of sad reversion to business as usual," according to Blair Kamin of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Whichever firm wins the "adventurous architectural bake-off for this building ... will meet with community representatives only after being selected." This "makes little sense," given that the arena, "envisioned by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as the centerpiece of an entertainment district, will be built smack in the middle of a dense urban neighborhood." Community leaders "want to know how the arena, also planned as a venue for concerts and convention meetings, would work, not just how it would look." The six firms -- "three from Chicago, three from outside -- are stellar." The Chicago-based firms are John Ronan Architects, Krueck + Sexton Architects and Ross Barney Architects. The "outsiders" are London-based Grimshaw Architects, Rotterdam, Netherlands-based OMA/AMO Architecture and Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects of New Haven, Conn. It is a "fascinating collection, primarily because the short-listed firms don't specialize in stadiums." So some "out-of-the-box solutions are likely, even though the firms are likely to partner with stadium specialists." But there are "real concerns, among them a fast-track schedule that is giving the architects just a few weeks to prepare this complex architectural and urban design." The firms will "make presentations Sept. 9 and 10, with a winner expected to be picked by mid-September." Kamin writes a "better course" would be for McPier to "redesign their flawed process, one that promises to keep the public in the dark during the crucial formative stages of a project that will have a lasting impact on the cityscape" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/8).
Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross yesterday said that he "remains committed to winning public dollars" for the team’s proposed Sun Life Stadium renovations, and "would not rule out a return to Tallahassee in 2014" to continue lobbying for the deal, according to Adam Beasley of the MIAMI HERALD. Ross said, "Have I given up? The answer is no." Ross was speaking in his "first major news conference since last spring’s legislative defeat" of the renovation deal. Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, who played a key role in the defeat of the Dolphins' effort, will "remain in his leadership post through the 2014 session, but Ross indicated Wednesday that another showdown with his political foil could come this winter." Even if the deal had "passed in Tallahassee, it still needed to win approval of Miami-Dade voters to succeed." Ross said that he "believed the referendum had a good chance of passing, had all the votes been cast and counted." Ross has "pledged to not move the franchise, but again reiterated the need for improvements" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/8).
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? In West Palm Beach, Andrew Abramson notes Ross "hasn’t abandoned his plan to make Dolphins games about more than the on-the-field product." Ross said the team this season "will have the best Internet system that will work in a stadium" in the U.S. Ross: "You’ll be able to make phone calls this year, you’ll be able to download, you’ll be able to do social networking." Abramson notes the team "launched a national search for a new CEO" after Mike Dee moved to the Padres. Ross said that he "hopes to have it narrowed down to four candidates by next week," and added that the person "doesn’t need a football background, but he would prefer some sports experience" (PALM BEACH POST, 8/8). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes, "From the moment he bought the Dolphins, Ross has poured his heart and money into the team ... and waited for it to come together." Hyde: "A hint of impatience could be expected. Maybe an overabundance of hope." But Ross instead has "learned to curb his public words and qualify his hopes." He "said little of interest Wednesday for the first time ever" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/8).