Friday, April 19, 2024

Chicago Mayor Weighs In On White Sox Potential Stadium Move

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The White Sox are looking into moving their stadium to a new home in the South Loop and now the Mayor of Chicago has weighed in. 

The Chicago Sun-Times was the first to report that White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf was considering moving the team’s stadium once their current lease expires in 2029. According to the report the team is now in “serious talks” about building a new stadium on land at Clark Streek and Roosevelt Road known as “The 78”.

During a Wednesday press conference, Mayor Brandon Johnson was asked about the White Sox potential stadium project. 

“I’ve had really good conversations with the leadership of our sports teams,” Johnson told reporters. “A really good conversation with Kevin Warren and the Bears. My conversation with Jerry was very positive. One of the things that I did appreciate in their presentation is that what they’ve been considering is the way new stadiums should and could look, that they have community benefits.” 

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The owners of The 78, Related Midwest, are hoping an agreement with the White Sox can help anchor further development and attract more businesses on the 62 acres of property. 

Renderings for the stadium released last week show a state-of-the-art stadium along the Chicago River, with home plate in the southwest corner, with views behind the plate facing the Chicago skyline. A large jumbotron overlooks a large plaza to the north. 

Sources have indicated that the White Sox are serious about moving locations once their lease expires. Guaranteed Rate Field is currently surrounded by 70 acres of parking lots. The 78, is near the Red Line and a Metro Station. Reports say that water taxis are being considered as another way to shuttle fans to and from the ballpark, which would in theory significantly reduce the amount of parking needed around the stadium. A lack of development surrounding Guaranteed Rate Field is one of the reasons that Reinsdorf is looking for a new stadium location. 

There are plans to build a large academic building, the Discovery Partners Institute, which will be the first tenet at The 78. The Dicovery Parters Insititute is included in the stadium renderings. 

The project for the new academic center is being overseen by the Illinois Captial Development Board. The Discovery Partners Institute would be built on a one-acre parcel on the south end of The 78. They are set to break ground on the project sometime in 2024. 

However, outside of The Discovery Partners Insititute mega development on the site has hit a lull. The White Sox would provide a much-needed boost for their efforts to find additional funding and tenets, with their stadium serving as the centerpiece of The 78. 

The 78 was on the shortlist to land a $1.74 billion casino project, but their efforts fell short when former Mayor Lori Lightfoot gave the Bally’s Corporation the casino license to build the casino resort on the site of the Tribune Publishing Center.

Last year Reinsdorf alluded to leaving Guaranteed Rate Field when the team’s lease expires in 2029. In August, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the White Sox would consider a retractable roof for a ballpark within the city. He also said that the White Sox were keeping close tabs on the Bears and what happens with Soldier Field as a potential option.  Another option is land near the United Center on the West Side, where Reinsdorf’s Bulls play.

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