Rumors are growing ever closer to reality for a new White Sox stadium.
This evening on WGN-TV in Chicago, the White Sox and partner Related Midwest’s plans for a new stadium in South Loop at “The 78” site were revealed, including renderings and the impact on the city.
The plan puts the new stadium in the center of the action, with a Petco Park-esque vibe among the renderings. The ballpark would lay right along the river and would ensure a skyline background. It would also be part of a larger “ballpark village” that is reminiscent of what the Braves and Cardinals currently have.
We also receive more concrete information about the financial impact of these plans. The economic impact is expected to be as follows:
- $9B economic investment in Chicago
- $4B stabilized annual economic impact
- $200M annual stabilized tax revenue
- 10K+ construction jobs
- 22K+ permanent jobs
In addition, the neighborhood/city impact is projected as follows:
- 5M+ projected annual visitors
- 1,000 new affordable units
- 10+ acres of open space for the community
The project impact does appear to call out Bridgeport as well, mentioning the neighborhood would receive 1,000+ new residential units and 10+ acres of open space – perhaps foreshadowing what the plan is for the current stadium site that is largely filled with parking lots.
Rumors of Arlington Heights, the United Center, and even Nashville sprung up before the latest talks of a South Loop Stadium at “The 78” earlier this offseason. Things have moved quickly from there, with these renderings and the proposal proving this is far from just an unsubstantiated idea. Recently, Rob Manfred and the Chicago Federation of Labor expressed their support for this new stadium plan, and former NBC Sports Chicago member and current ESPN radio host David Kaplan went so far as to say the White Sox’s new South Loop stadium was ” basically a done deal.”
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, but there would still be plenty of work necessary to get a stadium ready by 2029. Things are far from a sure thing here – but this is another step closer to turning these renderings into a reality.
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