Sneed: Rahm’s plan for DePaul arena not good news for Reinsdorf, Wirtz
By MICHAEL SNEED firstname.lastname@example.org
Sneed exclusive . . .
Who’s the boss?
Sneed is told that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s major expansion plan at McCormick Place — as first tipped by Sneed — is gonna make sports impresarios Jerry Reinsdorf and Rocky Wirtz very unhappy.
“Rahm’s plan to build two mega hotels on the McPier property as well as a boffo $300 million arena for the DePaul University Blue Demons basketball team is gonna tie their shoes in a knot,” said a top Sneed source.
◆ The buckshot: Rahm’s plan, which is scheduled to be announced this week, dashes the hopes of Reinsdorf, who owns the Chicago Bulls, and Wirtz, who owns the Blackhawks as well as the United Center (where both the Bulls and the Hawks play) to lure the Blue Demons to the United Center.
“The plans will pimp Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s attempt to not only lure the Blue Demons to the United Center, but the new training facility he is building near the United Center,” a top source said. “This really ups the competition.”
Back in March, DePaul turned down a 10-year rent-free offer to move the Blue Demons to the West Side stadium, but Reinsdorf remained optimistic he still had a chance.
◆ Backshot: Reinsdorf and Wirtz have put on a full-court press to lure DePaul University to play basketball at the United Center with lucrative enticements.
◆ Hoop shot: Reinsdorf is committed to moving the Bulls’ practice center to Chicago from Deerfield, where his team trains out of public view — and was pitching DePaul, the nation’s largest Catholic university, to use the Bulls’ new training facility.
◆ Bankshot: But for Reinsdorf and Wirtz, luring the DePaul team to the United Center is big-time because of the venue’s event dates. The DePaul Blue Demons play 15 to 20 dates, which would bring fans, parking and concessions to the United Center when the Bulls and the Blackhawks aren’t playing.
Wirtz is also an investor in the Chicago Sun-Times’ parent company, Wrapports.
◆ Upshot: “The hotels would add vitality and new life to the area on the north side of McCormick Place,” a top source said. “The conventioneers would have someplace to go for entertainment value, which is lacking in the area. The construction of a new casino is down the road a little bit,” the source added.
As the old saying goes, “Them that gots, gets.” But in this case, it looks like them that usually gets, ain’t gonna get it this time.
The pigskin file . . .
Sneed hears that former Chicago Bear Brian Urlacher, whose stellar, longtime career with the Bears began with a growl and ended with a whimper, is getting close to finding a new pigskin playground.
Sneed is told that Urlacher, whose decision to leave the Bears followed their offer of a $1.6 million renewal contract, has been talking to the Minnesota Vikings and the Denver Broncos. “It’s getting close to happening, but Brian is leaning toward heading to Minnesota and is talking a one to two year contract,” said a source close to Urlacher.
Going Gaga . . .
Bellying up to the bar . . . in a wheelchair.
Sneed hears that singer Lady Gaga, who is undergoing therapy after recent hip surgery and has been spotted using a wheelchair to go to yoga class in Chicago, has been spending time in a hole-in-the-wall cop bar in town near where her beau, actor Taylor Kinney, is filming “Chicago Fire” at nearby Cinespace Chicago Film Studios.
Gaga’s favorite watering hole, Richard’s Bar, which is next to the popular La Scarola eatery, “is like a 1963 time warp where they serve hard boiled eggs and beef jerky,” said a source. “It’s way cool. She’s shown up in a wheelchair and likes hanging out.”
Sneed’s exclusive Cook County Jail tip Sunday on the formation of a hit squad to kill law-enforcement officers — mandated by the Satan Disciples street gang — resulted in a bizarre twist.
◆ The upshot: A source tells Sneed that although the Cook County Sheriff’s Intelligence Center issued an alert last week notifying 132 Cook County agencies as well as the Chicago Police Department and the FBI — it was Sneed’s column which served to alert the Cook County Sheriff’s correctional officers to “the existence of a credible threat.”
◆ The buckshot: These are the people who guard the prisoners in Cook County Jail, and everyone else seemed to be alerted “before our staff was,” emailed the source.
I spy . . .
The Chicago Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford stopped in the Chicago Cut after his team’s victory on Thursday . . . Ditto Bears kicker Robbie Gould . . . And on Friday, Hawk Andrew Shaw dropped by.
Sneedlings . . .
Tuesday’s birthdays: Madeleine Albright, 76; George Lucas, 69, and Cate Blanchett, 44.