Thursday, April 18, 2024

Reinsdorf Set To Meet With Lawmakers About Funding For New Stadium

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White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf is set to meet with lawmakers in Springfield on Tuesday, to discuss funding for his new proposed stadium project in the Southloop, according to a report from NBC Sports Chicago. Reinsdorf is looking for $1 billion in public funding for the project. 

A report from Crain’s on Friday indicated that Reinsdorf is confident in his chances of getting the state’s stamp of approval for his financial plan to build a new stadium. However, they added he had to meet with Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. Pritzker has already indicated that he is hesitant to use public money for the stadium. 

Related Midwest President Curt Baily has already been meeting with elected officials, businesses, and labor leaders. Pritzker was asked about the stadium last week and said that the renderings were “beautiful” but added that his administration needed to be “careful with public dollars” when considering if the stadium would actually benefit Illinois. 

The Illinois Sports Authority still owns Guaranteed Rate Field. If Reinsdorf wants their financial backing they will need to devise a contingency plan for what to do with Guaranteed Rate once the White Sox lease is up.

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Related Midwest detailed plans as to what would happen to the area surrounding Guaranteed Rate Field if the team moves. The renderings show the baseball stadium being repurposed into a soccer stadium. The Chicago Fire currently play at Solider Field, but with the Chicago Bears in talks to move elsewhere, it is unclear what will happen to the Fire’s current home. The Chicago Red Stars already play in Bridgeview at SeatGeek Stadium but could move into Guaranteed Rate Field in 2029 after the White Sox lease is up. 

Guaranteed Rate Field is currently surrounded by 70 acres of parking lots. The lack of development surrounding the ballpark is one of the reasons that Reinsdorf is looking for a new stadium location. Some of the parking lots surrounding Guaranteed Rate Field are expected to be turned into housing units. Related Midwest described their plans as creating “active streets and new housing opportunities on a “reimagined campus”.

That plan to fund the new stadium includes getting private investment funds from housing, bars, and restaurants that want to build around the ballpark. They also want to build a 4,000-spot parking garage and parks around the stadium from the state subsidy to give the state a return on its investment. 

According to a previous report from Crain’s, Related Midwest, who owns the 78, has already secured Tax Incremental Financing that would help support the project. Reinsdorf and the White Sox are expected to request state legislators to authorize the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority to extend or issue new bonds, utilizing the existing 2% hotel occupancy tax currently allocated for repaying bonds associated with Guaranteed Rate Field. This proposal doesn’t involve imposing a new tax but aims to extend the duration or potentially introduce new bonds.

The Chicago Bears, who are also looking to build a new stadium in Arlington also need the Illinois Sports Authority’s assistance. Crain’s report indicates that the two teams have not met to create a joint plan. 

Developers hope the White Sox can attract additional funding and tenets, with their stadium serving as the anchor of The 78. Currently, an academic building known as the Discovery Partners Insititute is set to be the first tenet on The 78. The MLB hopes the move will attract more fans with added entertainment and transportation options. 

Using public money for stadiums usually spells disaster for the state. Local governments rarely get a return on their investment. 

When Related Midwest released renderings of the stadium, they projected that the facility would draw 5 million annual visitors. This is despite the fact the White Sox have drawn over 2 million in total attendance just once in the last decade. For reference, the Cubs, who are a much more popular team and play in a historic tourist destination at Wrigley Field, have ranked in the top five in the MLB in total attendance. The most they have drawn in total annual attendance in the last decade is just over 3.2 million people. Even with concerts and other events at the White Sox new stadium, it is hard to see them consistently drawing 5 million in annual visitors, especially once the novelty of the new stadium wears off.

Related Midwest boast in their renderings that the project is expected to be a $9 billion investment in Chicago, $4 billion in stabilized annual economic impact, create 32,000 jobs, 1,000 affordable units, $200 million in annual tax revenue, over ten acres of space for the community, and 1,300 residential units. Of those 32,000 new jobs, 10,000 of them are expected to be construction jobs, while 22,000 would be permanent jobs, according to the Chicago Federation of Labor.

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thebeezr
thebeezr
Feb 21, 2024 10:51 am

Reinsdorf looking for another handout for a new stadium! Absurd!

citizen34
citizen34
Feb 20, 2024 11:57 am

This guy is the biggest clown owner in the world and has ruined 2 franchises! All he cares about is making his own money. He is trying to get public money again before the Bears can get any! He is the same guy that made sure people didn’t show up to the game so that he didn’t have to pay anything on the $300M bond deal to build the Cell. Enough with this guy. I still believe he was the reason that soldier field never had a dome so that he could have concerts at his united center. Please go… Read more »

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