Contact Us

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Over Chicago Fire Land Lease Deal

A lawsuit filed against the Chicago Housing Authority for its deal to lease 23 acres of land to the Chicago Fire soccer club has officially gone up in smoke. 

On Friday, a judge dismissed a lawsuit housing groups filed against the CHA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, which alleged the deal did not go through a suitable local and federal review process, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Chicago Fire Soccer Club fans raise a team flag.

The training facility is set on land originally put aside to rehouse families from a public housing complex that was demolished two decades ago, and some called the deal an “abandonment of the public trust.”

But U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin of the Northern District of Illinois ruled the housing groups that filed the lawsuit did not have standing to do so because they did not make it clear how their members would be impacted by the project.

The land had been vacant for 20 years prior — thus no housing units would be displaced because of the deal — and the CHA had no imminent plans to redevelop the site, Durkin wrote, according to the Tribune. 

“The potential of harm or benefit here is entirely speculative,” Durkin wrote.  

Three groups filed the lawsuit in June: the Coalition to Protect Chicago Housing Authority Land, the Chicago Housing Initiative and the Lugenia Burns Hope Center. The lawsuit asked for HUD to generate a comprehensive civil rights review, halt further site development and compensate plaintiffs for alleged damages, the Tribune reports. 

The Fire signed a 40-year land lease with the city in March. The lease is estimated to generate $40M in revenue for the CHA, according to the team

The team will build a multi-million dollar, 53K SF training facility, as well as two-and-a-half hybrid grass pitches with a hydronic heating system and three synthetic turf pitches that will be protected by an insulated dome from November to March each year. 

The project broke ground on April 25.

As a part of the agreement, the soccer club will also provide an $8M community investment to rehabilitate and preserve nearby CHA housing and create indoor and outdoor community spaces. 

“Being a part of and giving back to Chicago is at the heart of the Chicago Fire Football Club ethos, and we are excited to put down roots on the Near West Side in the Roosevelt Square community,” Fire Owner and Chairman Joe Mansueto said in a press release.