Gov. Pritzker concerned about cost of new White Sox South Loop stadium

Renderings of a new Chicago White Sox stadium in the South Loop were revealed on Wednesday.

Last month, the Sun-Times reported the White Sox were in "serious" talks to build a stadium on a parcel of land known as "The 78." It's a sprawling 60-plus acres at Clark and Roosevelt, currently owned by Related Midwest.

The spot is viewed as one of the prime open spaces still left around downtown.

Now, we're getting our first look at what the ballpark could look like should a deal be struck.

The renderings depict a state-of-the-art, wide-open ballpark with panoramic views of the skyline. The Sox iconic pinwheels are still there, but not on a scoreboard — freestanding in center field.

It appears fans would even be able to take a water taxi to the park!

The stadium would be the anchor of an entirely new neighborhood. In its proposal, Related Midwest calls it a "catalyst" that would create tens of thousands of permanent and construction jobs.

"Enclosed are conceptual renderings of The 78 neighborhood, including the potential new White Sox ballpark. The development would be a catalyst for the creation of Chicago’s next great neighborhood, create tens of thousands of permanent and construction jobs and bring a state-of-the-art White Sox ballpark to the South Loop riverfront," Related Midwest said in a statement.

Image 1 of 9


There has been no comment specifically on the move from the White Sox, and the Sun-Times article only cited sources for their information.

But, how would the project be funded? Would taxpayer dollars be included? Gov. JB Pritzker discussed the project on Friday.

"It looks beautiful and obviously we all want our professional teams to succeed in Illinois," said Pritzker. "We need to be careful about how we use public dollars and a private business like a pro team, even if they are beloved by so many people, are nevertheless similar to lots of businesses in the state."

Related Midwest has reportedly not asked for state money. Instead, they want the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority to be given the green light to "re-arrange bonds." Those bonds are backed by an existing 2% hotel tax and were used, at least at one time, to help restore Soldier Field.

Speaking of which, the fate of the Soldier Field and the Chicago Bears is still up in the air -- where will they land and how will it be paid for, after tax assessment issues in Arlington Heights?

"Taxpayer dollars are precious so the question really is what benefit financially are they bringing fiscally to the state and the city and the county," said Pritzker in relation to the new Sox park.

Mayor Brandon Johnson and Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf issued a joint statement to the Sun-Times, saying they're looking at ways to remain "competitive in Chicago in perpetuity."

In an interview with Crain's Chicago, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred backed the proposal after being briefed by Reinsdorf.

"I’m supportive," Manfred told Crain's Chicago. "A new facility could be a game changer for the White Sox."

There is no word yet if the stadium would be publicly funded or if the construction would be privately financed.

Last summer, reports surfaced that Reinsdorf was exploring the possibility of leaving Guaranteed Rate Field when the team's lease expires after the 2029 season.

Years ago, when the White Sox were first building their new ballpark on 35th Street, there was a strong push to bring the team downtown then.


Expert says if White Sox are serious about moving, he sees it going 1 of 3 ways

The White Sox are reportedly kicking around the idea of moving out of Chicago.