The Chicago Plan Commission on Thursday OKed a proposal to expand Northerly Island's Charter One Pavilion, which will play host to major acts Jimmy Buffett and Phish this summer.
The seasonal music venue -- on the former site of Meigs Field -- was seeking approval to boost its capacity by more than 20,000 people by shifting the pavilion's stage to include a new lawn seating area in addition to 600 new pavilion seats, all facing a backdrop of the city's picturesque skyline.
The Ticketmaster/Live Nation-owned venue's makeover into something resembling a Ravinia in the city will be "self-sufficient," according to DNAinfo Chicago, and should be completed by June 1, in time for Buffett's June 29 gig, Phish's July 19-21 jam. In addition, the Chicago Tribune reports Dispatch will play the venue on June 1, O.A.R. on June 28 and Ben Folds and Barenaked Ladies will share a double bill on July 9.
One Plan Commission member, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, had lingering concerns that a parking and traffic mess will accompany the quadrupling of the venue's previous capacity of 7,500 concertgoers -- but Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein and Park District superintendent Michael Kelly said Soldier Field's parking lots should satisfy any strain for those driving rather than taking public transportation or biking.
According to the Tribune, the pavilion's expansion is expected to double Park District's ticket sales revenue to $2 million this year.