Though they announced plans Wednesday to move their practice facility downtown, the Bulls are expecting to use the Berto Center for at least two more years.
The Berto was a prototype for NBA practice facilities when it was built in 1992 and still holds up well. It has plenty of gym space, a large weight room, a rehab pool and players lounge off the locker room.
What it lacks is office space and every year, it seems the Bulls add another assistant coach, video coordinator, scout or assistant to the GM.
The Bulls are planning to sell the Berto Center and though it seems unlikely anyone would be able to make use of the building the way it is, it sits on a valuable plot of land in Deerfield and borders a couple businesses that could be looking to expand.
One question waiting to be answered is whether the Bulls’ next practice facility will border the United Center. The Bulls and Blackhawks are planning to fill a nearby parking lot with an entertainment center with bars, restaurants, movie theaters and possibly residential use. Stadium-centric developments have been built with success in Los Angeles and Dallas.
In their press release, the Bulls credited Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel for pitching the idea of a downtown practice facility to Jerry Reinsdorf. I first heard a couple years ago the Bulls were considering this move, but it never hurts to butter up the politicians.