Cabs Move For South Loop-Area E-sports Arena

A couple of weeks ago, we told you about plans for a new e-sports arena just off State Street near McCormick Place. Now our tip line has scored with pictures of the site sent in by South Loop Spy Alex.

March, 2021 photograph of 2500 South Wabash Avenue. (Courtesy of South Loop Spy Alex.)
March, 2021 photograph of 2500 South Wabash Avenue. (Courtesy of South Loop Spy Alex.)

The location, 2500 South Wabash Avenue, is the former home of the Chicago Carriage Cab company. Today it sports a public notice about Smash INTERACTIVE’s proposed new e-sports arena. Specifically, to:

…renovate the existing building into a 30 parking space with 1,700 s.f. retail building and 60 car outdoor parking facility for a total of 90 parking spaces to serve the Esports stadium at 2500-48 S. Wabash Ave.

Also worth noting in Alex’s pictures is that there was (is?) a cabbie walk of fame at this location. Louie De Palma and the Reverend Jim Ignatowski could not be reached for comment.

Documents filed with the city show this project will be called “Surge,” and that it has been scaled back in the last year.

March, 2021 rendering of Surge.
March, 2021 rendering of Surge.

A previous iteration of the plan included signs on the water tower, larger digital signs on the building, and taller architectural screens. Parking access was also rejiggered to assuage nearby loft dwellers, and there is a retail building on the street to kinda hide some of the surface parking.

To our eyes, it’s all looks very much like a Dave and Busters, or a Jillians (R.I.P.). But even if this is nothing more than a Disney+Star Wars version of a sporting arena, it’s certainly an improvement over what’s there right now.

Location: 2500 South Wabash Avenue, ickes Homes

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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