MLB commissioner backs White Sox stadium at Related Midwest site
Rob Manfred thinks locating at The 78 development “could be a game changer”
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has given the thumbs up to the Chicago White Sox’s proposal to construct a stadium at The 78, Related Midwest’s development in the South Loop.
Manfred emphasized the benefits of the location’s proximity to downtown, highlighting its potential to revitalize the area and enhance fan experience, Crain’s reported.
“Baseball has always worked well close to downtown,” he told the outlet. “I’m supportive. A new facility could be a game changer for the White Sox.”
White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf briefed Manfred on the proposal. While not privy to all the specifics, Manfred underscored Reinsdorf’s assurance that the project would not rely on additional taxes. Instead, potential financing avenues include reallocating revenues from taxes on hotel rooms and leveraging tax-increment financing deals between the city and Related Midwest.
Manfred indicated indirect league subsidies could assist in covering development costs by deducting stadium development expenses from the team’s revenue-sharing payments. The MLB won’t formally approve or reject the stadium proposal.
The 78 is a $7 billion development plan for 62 acres just south of downtown. Related Midwest bought the land in 2016 and plans to develop high-rise buildings as well as a river walk.
Reinsdorf’s push for a new stadium comes amid dissatisfaction with Guaranteed Rate Field and a desire to compete with the crosstown rival Chicago Cubs. Mayor Brandon Johnson has signaled initial approval for the project, with support also coming from influential figures like Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter and City Alderman Pat Dowell.
While details regarding ancillary developments accompanying the stadium are scarce, proponents anticipate residential and commercial growth in tandem with the project.
Reinsdorf also owns the Chicago Bulls and appears to have development plans up his sleeve near the United Center, where the NBA squad plays. In August, a Reinsdorf-affiliated company paid $17 million for a mostly vacant property about a block away from the United Center.