Reinsdorf, Related seek $1B subsidy for new White Sox stadium

Confident that Gov. J.B. Pritzker will grant subsidy, despite initial reluctance

Reinsdorf Seeks $1B Subsidy For New White Sox Stadium
Jerry Reinsdorf, Related Midwest’s Curt Bailey and Governor J.B. Pritzker (Getty, Related Midwest)

Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf is taking a big swing to get a new stadium in Chicago’s South Loop off the ground.

Reinsdorf is seeking a $1 billion subsidy from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other state officials to help fund a stadium that’s set to rise in The 78, a $7 billion megadevelopment spearheaded by Related Midwest, Crain’s reported. Reinsdorf was meeting with legislators in Springfield Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Reinsdorf and Related Midwest president Curt Bailey previously discussed the proposal with state leaders and are confident that they’ll secure the subsidy, even though Pritzker has been dismissive of using tax dollars to subsidize a stadium for a multi-billion dollar sports franchise. Yet, Pritzker is keeping an open mind, pending a detailed financial plan from the White Sox.

The proposed stadium would not only be subsidized but is touted as a catalyst for additional private investment, including mixed-use buildings, affordable housing, restaurants and parks.

The plan aims to relieve the city of Chicago from financial obligations tied to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority debt for Soldier Field’s renovation, potentially freeing up resources for other municipal priorities.

Reinsdorf’s funding proposal involves extending the ISFA bonds over 30 years, using revenue from a hotel occupancy tax and a specific tax district to back the new bonds.

However, the deal faces hurdles, requiring state approval for the extension of ISFA bonds and diverting sales taxes to support the authority’s debt.

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The proposed plan could also impact the Chicago Bears’ pursuit of a new stadium, as it would potentially limit that team’s access to ISFA funds for their project.

In addition, there are concerns about the stability of revenue sources, particularly given the uncertain recovery of Chicago’s hotel industry and sales tax revenues post-pandemic.

While discussions with state and city officials are ongoing, key stakeholders, including Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker Chris Welch, are withholding explicit support until all details are disclosed.

Labor unions showed initial enthusiasm, anticipating job opportunities, but local officials, including Alderman Pat Dowell and Mayor Brandon Johnson, are seeking more information before fully endorsing the project, the outlet reported.

The proposed stadium would fall within an existing tax-increment financing district, with potential implications for infrastructure agreements and further negotiations with the city.

Even if financial approvals are secured, challenges remain, including negotiations over stadium leases, land purchase terms and plans for Guaranteed Rate Field, the White Sox’s current gameday venue.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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