More than five years after its announcement, a new CTA Green Line station near the United Center is under construction.
Damen Avenue station is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation. It will bridge a 1.5 mile gap between existing stations on the West Branch of the Green Line and aims to improve public transit for nearby residents, businesses in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor and visitors trying to get to the United Center to attend Blackhawks games, Bulls games and concerts.
The station and related work on Lake Street under the tracks is expected to cost about $80 million and will be funded by the Kinzie Industrial Corridor Tax Increment Financing District, according to the city.
An “L” station existed at Damen and Lake for decades, until it closed in 1948. Damen was one of 10 stations on the Lake Street line closed at that time in an effort to speed up service, according to the Tribune archives.
Supporters have long pushed to reopen a station in Damen, including the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago business incubator. Executive director Steve DeBretto said Damen Station’s return is a matter of fairness.
“It’s great to have so many transit options for people who live here, work here, or just want to come here to shop,” he said.
The Kinzie Industrial Corridor, a planned manufacturing district where the organization is located, includes businesses whose workforce comes from surrounding neighborhoods and businesses, such as breweries, that draw visitors to the area. Key for these businesses is public transit options to get to the site and to better connect the neighborhood to the center of town, he said.
The new station, designed by Perkins&Will, was originally scheduled to open in 2020. The completion date was later pushed back a year because city officials said they had to wait until the station design was complete before awarding a construction contract. It was pushed back again due to advance work needed to relocate utilities and reinforce column foundations, as well as supply chain challenges and delays in obtaining materials, the spokeswoman said. from CDOT, Erica Schroeder.
Advanced work has been underway since 2019, when the city launched a project to rebuild a section of Lake Street from Ashland to Damen and relocate structural columns to allow construction of the new station.
The initial price has hovered between $50-60 million in previous official statements. Schroeder said the $80 million figure included work on the nearby site and a construction contract for the station project was worth $67.3 million.
Over the past decade, CTA has built other new stations to fill the gaps between existing stations. Morgan, which serves the Green and Pink lines east of the new Damen station, opened in 2012, and Cermak-McCormick Place on the southern branch of the Green line opened in 2015.