Bulls moving practice facility from Berto Center
The Chicago Bulls Officially Open Camp Friday evening at the Berto Center. December 9, 2011. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: October 24, 2012 10:06PM
The Chicago Bulls announced Wednesday the team is moving its practice facility from the Sheri L. Berto Center in Deerfield to a location in downtown Chicago.
Several reports have speculated an expanded sports and entertainment facility at or near the United Center may be the location planned for the team’s new practice arena.
In a statement, Bulls president and chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf said space and business expansion are at the heart of the move.
“We have been happy at the Berto for many years,” Michael Reinsdorf said. “However, for us, the time is right for a move from both a basketball and a business standpoint. Our basketball operations group has been incredibly resourceful, but there is no longer space available to grow where we are now.
“And, strategically, we are taking a more integrated approach to our business, and decreasing the physical distance between our two main facilities will naturally create more opportunities for collaboration among all departments.”
Having the Bulls in Deerfield has brought people to town and generated business in the local restaurants and hotels, Village Manager Kent Street said Wednesday.
“The operation staff has been in Deerfield for many years, and it’s been good for the community,” Street said. “All of those things will have a negative impact.”
But losing the Bulls in Deerfield should not affect Deerfield’s business community too much because the Berto Center was a very private organization, DBR Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Vicki Street said.
“In general, they are not bringing much business to the community,” she said. “Other than losing a wonderful organization, I don’t see it as having an impact on our community.”
Having a practice center in Deerfield made sense over the years because a lot of Bulls players lived in the area, Vicki Street said. But that has changed, and a lot of the players live in the city now.
“It was wonderful to say we were home to the Berto Center, but we’re still Deerfield,” she said.
Kent Street said he understands the team might want to move its practice facility to better align with player lifestyle. He was unsure what might go into the site once the Bulls move, but he hopes it is something that will similarly benefit the community.
The Bulls have been at the Berto Center, about 25 miles from downtown Chicago, since 1992. The team plans to sell the facility.