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Two stadium proposals from the Bears and White Sox have ushered in grand visions for Chicago’s Museum Campus and The 78 megadevelopment site. The sheer scale of these projects invites the opportunity to inquire about best practices in stadium and sports district design and explore development processes that elevate the public interest.

June 12, 2024
6:00 pm

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Through a conversation with experts who have led complex stadium rebuilds and associated mixed-use real estate development and planning processes, we hope to foster a better understanding of the DNA of successful stadium projects. How do the most celebrated examples manage to foreground sound urban design and connectivity while meeting the client's needs? And with the surging demand for women's sports, are cities seeing the bigger picture with long-range stadium planning? This program will help you grasp the complexities and possibilities for inclusive city-building with major sports franchises, as Chicago debates two transformative plans.

Our panel includes Don Jones, a Principal at Philadelphia-based EwingCole; Fran Weld, CEO of Canopy Team, a sports strategy and design consultancy based in Baltimore; and Collete English Dixon, Executive Director of the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University. bKL Architecture Managing Principal Danielle Tillman moderates.

This program is part of our Loop as Lab: Reshaping Downtowns exhibition series exploring key themes for the future of downtowns.

Danielle tillman

Danielle Tillman is Managing Principal at Chicago-based bKL Architecture. She is an expert at infusing architecture with social consciousness, drawn to community service and civic engagement through educational and institutional projects. Danielle’s specialty is built environments that naturally integrate into their communities. Through the planning process, she cultivates relationships with neighborhood leaders and residents. Danielle’s global portfolio also includes mixed-use and residential developments. She was a member of the team that developed the 2016 Chicago Olympic Village housing bid.

Danielle earned a BS in Mathematics from Spelman College and a Master of Architecture Degree (MArch) from the University of Michigan. She holds a Certificate in Real Estate Development and is a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), the AIA Chicago Foundation Board, Business Leadership Council, Board of Advisors of the College of Architecture at IIT, the International Women’s Forum (IWF), Urban Land Institute (ULI), Chicago Women in Architecture (CWA) and CREW Chicago. Danielle has also been appointed as a Commissioner for the Chicago Plan Commission.


Collete English Dixon

Collete English Dixon has more than 30 years of experience in investment management with a focus on commercial real estate investing. Prior to her current role at Roosevelt University, she worked for Prudential Financial, where she served as Executive Director in Transactions for PGIM Real Estate, one of the 10 largest asset managers in the world with a workforce in excess of 1,100 investment professionals spanning 31 offices. Her extensive professional experience also includes commercial property development and asset management.

In her current role, English Dixon is the Executive Director of the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University where she manages all aspects of the undergraduate real estate major and minor and the MSRE/MBA-RE degree and graduate certificate programs. She is the first African American woman leader of a higher-education real estate program in the US and a member of the administrative team for the Heller College of Business.

She is a member of the Board of Directors for Marcus and Millichap, Inc., an Advisory Board member for Waterton Associates, LLC, and a Trustee for UBS’ Trumbull Property Fund. English Dixon also serves on the Board of Directors for Community Investment Corporation-Chicago and the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation, in addition to being a Global Governing Trustee and member of the Americas Executive Committee of the Urban Land Institute. She is a Past President of the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network, a Past Chair of the CREW Network Foundation, and a Past President of CREW Chicago.

Don Jones 

Don Jones is a Principal in the Philadelphia office of EwingCole, a 450-person architecture and engineering firm with 11 offices throughout the country. He has served as Director of Sustainable Design. An architect with over 45 years of experience in the design of sports and entertainment, educational, research, health care, and cultural facilities, Jones has worked on many notable projects. He has led and contributed to the design and renovations of stadiums for the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Giants and Jets at MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, New Jersey, which is currently being retrofitted in advance of that site hosting the FIFA 2026 World Cup final.

Jones has also overseen the design of complex medical and research facilities for Fox Chase Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Lancaster General Hospital, as well as museum work for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. He is a past president of AIA Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Center for Architecture and Design (now called Design Philadelphia), and is a current professor in architecture at Drexel University.

Fran Weld

Fran Weld is the CEO of Canopy Team, a boutique sports strategy and design consultancy based in Baltimore, Maryland. Prior to founding Canopy, Weld served as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Development for the San Francisco Giants, where she managed the design, financing, and entitlements of Mission Rock, the $2.6 billion, 28-acre waterfront neighborhood adjacent to Oracle Park. This public-private partnership features more than 8 acres of parks and 3.5 million square feet of mixed-use space, including 1,200 residential units (40% affordable). Weld went on to found and lead Mission Rock Utilities, the first-ever central heating, cooling and wastewater treatment district in San Francisco, which allowed the neighborhood to be completely carbon neutral, with zero wastewater. She also founded the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program for the community, establishing the city’s first-ever Women in Building Trades Training Program. She is a former Board Chair of SPUR, an urban policy think tank, and has taught a master’s level studio course in the University of California, Berkeley’s Real Estate Development + Design program.