Though it started simply as a rumor, the idea of a South Loop stadium for the White Sox keeps getting more realistic.
This morning, Crain’s Chicago Business released an article that detailed the support of the Chicago Federation of Labor – a powerful Chicago labor union – for the White Sox’s potential stadium plan on “The 78” in the South Loop.
Bob Reiter, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, called the project “very exciting for the city.”
“Creating this neighborhood on that tract of land that’s been waiting to be developed for such a long time is going to be great and this is the right project. It’s going to create 10,000 construction jobs and 22,000 permanent jobs.”– Bob Reiter (via Crain’s Chicago)
As detailed in Crain’s, union support is a key to any major project in Chicago, as the CFL is a powerful political force. Related Midwest – the developer and owner of “The 78” property – has met with Reiter as well.
Related Midwest – which has already secured zoning approvals for the 78 development – has provisions that do allow for a sports stadium to be built on the property. Related Midwest has also secured Tax Incremental Financing that would help pay for over $500 million in major infrastructure. This is important, as it has been made clear that no “new taxes” would support the project – with a lot, of course, riding on the word “new.”
According to Crain’s, the White Sox are likely to ask state legislators to empower the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority to either extend or issue new bonds backed by the existing 2% hotel occupancy tax that is currently used to satisfy the bonds issued to pay for Guarantee Rate Field. It wouldn’t raise a new tax but would extend or potentially issue new bonds.
This comes following a report last night from former NBC Sports Chicago member and current ESPN radio host David Kaplan, who went so far as to say the White Sox’s new South Loop stadium was ” bascially a done deal.”
Named after its potential to become Chicago’s 78th neighborhood, “The 78” is a large, undeveloped plot of land near the intersection of Roosevelt Road and Clark Street. It has been in the news quite a bit recently, as developers begin to try and figure out just what will be done with the land.
The 78 Chicago website is dedicated to a vision for the future of the land that “can galvanize communities and transform the city.” Prospective plans include an innovation center, riverfront access, and housing, among other ideas. However, the only concrete plan for this land is Governor J.B. Pritzker’s plan to use part of the property for a University of Illinois tech research center known as “Discovery Partners Institute.” Bill Jackson, the executive director of Discovery Partners, said he has heard the White Sox may be interested and thinks the team would make a great neighbor for the four acres of land they plan to use.
As a reminder: the White Sox’s current lease for Guaranteed Rate Field does not end until after the 2028 season.
We will continue to provide updates as additional details are made public.
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