President of ECD Co. and Smash Hotels CEO Scott Greenberg has detailed plans to establish an esports arena in Chicago’s Near South Side. Greenberg is eyeing a property at 2500 S. Wabash Ave. for the 106K-square-foot venue. The arena would be equipped with three kitchens to serve food and drink, with room for 800 spectators.
Greenberg’s company ECD has partnered with Chicago-based virtual reality company MassVR for the project, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune. MassVR had operated a smaller esports venue in the Old Orchard shopping mall, but the venue closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One proposed feature Greenberg hopes will set the arena (called “Surge”) apart is an IMAX-style video canvas to create a unique viewing experience.
The project will require City Council approval for a zoning change, but pending that approval the developers are aiming to begin construction by Summer 2021 in order to open by Summer 2022.
Chicago has become a bigger part of the esports industry in recent years. The city has hosted an Intel Extreme Masters event since 2018 when it moved from Oakland, California. Last year, the city became a part of the Call of Duty League with the formation of the Chicago Huntsmen. Chicago’s CDL franchise will have an even bigger spotlight on it in 2021 thanks to the reunion of the OpTic Gaming brand with Chicago franchise holder NRG Esports and its co-CEO Hector Rodriguez.
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