Dave Matthews Band Coming To Old U.S. Steel Site

CHICAGO (CBS) — A long-vacant site on the South Lakefront will be the site of a concert by the Dave Matthews Band this summer, and eventually, a brand new city neighborhood.

The concert will be held at a new venue called Lakeside, located along the lakefront near 85th Street. It is one the former site of the U.S. Steel South Works Plant, which stretched from 79th and 87th Streets.

The concert will be part of the band’s three-day “Caravan Tour,” from July 8-10.

Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) said the concert would provide the perfect opportunity to showcase one what she called “the best kept secret in the City of Chicago.”

“It is absolutely spectacular,” she said. “I, for one am very excited and proud that the 7th Ward and the 10th Ward will be hosting the Dave Matthews Band. I can’t tell you how exciting this is – not just for the South Side, not just for the 7th Ward, and, of course, the 10th Ward – but for what this means for the region in terms of opportunities – economic opportunities,” Jackson said.

Added Ald. John Pope (10th): “I remember thousands of people who didn’t come here for concerts, but came here to make a living. I remember fishing in the slip here, while the mill was still operating. Great memories – and we’re about to create more memories at this spectacular site that Sandi just described.”

The Dave Matthews Band concert will be the first ever event at the new site, which will eventually be the site of a major new development that will turn the site into a new entertainment and retail district.

“If you’ve got a boat, bring your boat down from Shedd Aquarium, or down from Navy Pier, down to what I expect will be the next tourist destination in the City of Chicago,” Jackson said.

Earlier plans indicated he broader project, called the Chicago Lakeside Development, would include high-rise apartment buildings, town homes, stores, offices, and medical facilities, according to past published reports. Earlier reports also indicated that the plan calls for about 100 acres to be donated to the city as open space.

Jackson said she hopes President Barack Obama’s presidential library might even someday locate on the site, “now that we’ve got a new friend in the mayor’s seat.”

The U.S. Steel South Works Plant employed 20,000 people at its peak, but closed in 1992. U.S. Steel had all the buildings on the site demolished, but left behind the slag from steel production, and entered a venture with McCaffery Interests Inc. to develop the site. It is the closest thing to “greenfield” property that you’ll find in the city limits.

The slag, while not toxic, gave it the character of a moonscape. Part of the property has gotten topsoil in recent years from sludge dredged from Lake Peoria and brought up by barge. It’s now sprouting vegetation.

The property adjoins the South Shore neighborhood on the north and the South Chicago neighborhood on the south. Both neighborhoods have struggled with crime and economic despair in recent years.

But the property is also close to four Metra stations, is just 10 miles from downtown, and South Shore Drive will be rerouted into its midst. Attractions and institutions such as the South Shore Cultural Center, the Museum of Science and Industry and the University of Chicago campus are also only minutes away.

“We believe that when the concertgoers are, they will see it, and they will accept it, and will revel in the beauty as those who are native to this area do,” Jackson said.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

  • dont follow the tour bus !

    overratted and his tour bus dumps on chi !!!! save it dm for NY

  • webdiva

    While a concert venue is nice for now, there would have been far more money for the local economy in the long run if they’d used this site to develop a third airport and a surrounding industrial/technology park to support the airport. It would have meant building out into the lake on landfill to extend the property enough for runways that allowed takeoffs and landings over the lake, plus an agreement with the state of Indiana, given the nearness of the state line — but it would have been worth it. Besides, half the lakefront downtown was built on landfill by Daniel Burnham, so we already have a tradition of that. A music venue and new housing, however, won’t make up for the decades of revenue that a new airport and support-services industrial park would have provided to the city. Stupid move, Chicago.

    • krisko

      webdiva, you’re an idiot. Another airport, why not another nuclear reactor, or how bout shut up.

    • Noreen

      I agree. Sadly politics as usual got in the way and whiny people from the suburbs could care a less about people from South Chicago. I was born there and lived there until my 20s. My dad grew up right across the street from steel mill, house long gone.

      Krisko-Wow, you maybe want to use better language and maybe we will listen to you.

      • Carol

        Nicely said, Noreen.

    • Carol

      Webdiva. An airport could be a solution; however, is not the best solution. An airport causes all sorts of pollution and disrupts the environment. . Chicago does not need a 3rd airport, Chicago already has two. Let’s face it, we are in an era of technology and environmentalism. The question is how can Chicago compete for long-term business growth in a effective way???

  • Carol

    Ald. John Pope (10th ward) says, “I remember thousands of people who didn’t come here for concerts, but came here to make a living. I remember fishing in the slip here, while the mill was still operating. Great memories – and we’re about to create more memories at this spectacular site that Sandi just described.
    Fact is John Pope has done nothing for the 10th ward. As opportunity presents itself John Pope surfaces from the long neglected cracks of the 10th ward. Pope your job is not to day dream but to work. For instance, Torrence Avenue needs long overdue repair, not to mention it’s a dumping ground for dead bodies and a pathway for drunk drivers. For the luxurious salary you receive to do nothing, you are pathetic!

    • Bob Mullane

      Making the neighborhood a better place to live would mean work and he sees no
      benifit in that. Wow a concert in a bad nieghborhood I wonder how much police
      security is going to cost.

  • Tinsley

    It warms my heart that South Chicago is getting a break. So many people lost their jobs from all the mills. Finally, something that might bring some money into the neighborhood.

    • Eli G.

      Bring back the steel mills. That will do the area best.

  • Mikey

    I believe it is crazy that there is critism around this event. Living in the city myself, I won’t even consider venturing any further south than U.S. Cellular. There is no point. Well now there is, the Dave Matthews Band is going to sell the site out and attract THOUSANDS of people to the southside of Chicago. Instead of worrying about the cost of security, think about how much revenue this will bring. How about the possibility for future concerts?! This event is going to bring people from all over the midwest, if not from across the country. How about everyone be greatful that the most popular/successful band of this era is making a 3 day event happen in a run down area of one of the biggest cities in the nation.

  • lp

    im not familiar with chicago. will my daughter and i be safe going to a concert there?

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