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The guy responsible for the United Center uses his magic mitigating touch on the New Meadowlands

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We don't claim to be architecture experts here at Sports Pros(e), but we do know an attractive building when we see one. After all, we do live in Chicago, home to some of the most impressive architecture in the country.

One piece of architecture of note in our fine city houses the Bulls and Blackhawks -- the United Center. But more impressive, perhaps, than the piece of architecture itself is the fact that it was ever built at all, considering the potential impasse that Bulls and Blackhawks brass faced in the early 90s.
But thanks to a Kansas City-based architect named George Heinlein, the project moved forward and we're stuck blessed with the structure at 1901 W. Madison St.

Sports Business Journal reports

"Heinlein's deft touch managing competing interests dates to his early days as an architect at HOK Sport, when he served as a project designer for United Center in Chicago, the Bulls' and Blackhawks' arena."

The article continues later:

"Heinlein provided the joint venture with 10 to 15 arena plans for United Center, with varying numbers of suites and cost ramifications, an exercise that helped the young designer see what it takes to balance revenue against budget.

"Working closely with the ownership group also made Heinlein realize how much he enjoyed the problem-solving process, to the point that he continues to play the role of project designer for 360, the firm he co-owns."

Even more impressive, perhaps, than his problem-solving powers in the Windy City was his ability to broker a compromise between Jets and Giants owners who had different visions of what a New Meadowlands should comprise. 

"The Jets and Giants sparred over details big and small for the $1.7 billion stadium, from the exterior wall colors to the location of the suites, but Heinlein maneuvered through the land mines and came up with a building design that satisfied both clubs.

"There were a few uncomfortable situations, no doubt; it was not just two teams and maybe two opinions," Heinlein said.

"We had four clients. [Jets owner] Woody Johnson and his tastes and preferences, and Jay, who had his own strong opinions about the way the thing should be done. Then you had [Giants co-owners] John Mara and Steve Tisch, and they were not in complete agreement on everything."

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin Allen published on January 6, 2009 12:02 PM.

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