A total of $500 million would be spent on Wrigley Field improvements if public funding comes through: $300M for the ballpark itself, $200M for a new triangle building next door.
Crain’s Chicago Business is reporting some of the details of the plan. Public funding isn’t part of the so-called triangle building next door to Wrigley, which would contain team offices, an expanded team store and additional group spaces. The plans for that building have been bouncing around for years as part of the Wrigley 2014 plan.
Public money would be involved in the $300 million renovation of the ballpark, which would include structural improvements, a new suite/club level replacing the current mezzanine/suite area, and more. Half of the cost would come from bonds issued against future amusement-tax revenues collected by the city and Cook County (which would probably need to be issued by a third party), the rest from the team. The Cubs would also receive permission to put up a larger scoreboard (the current manual scoreboard would remain) and close Waveland and Sheffield on game day to accommodate fans.
One potentially troublesome provision: the team would keep half of the amusement taxes collected after a 6 percent rise in revenues. That’s pretty much a permanent tax cut — though it’s a cut of revenues that wouldn’t happen without the ballpark improvements.
Public funding of ballparks is always a hard sell — and this will be a harder sell, as it’s public funding of a privately owned facility. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cubs owner Tom Ricketts will have their challenges passing this plan.
RELATED STORIES: Emanuel plan for Wrigley renovation: set aside landmark status; Illinois guv: No public money for ballpark renovations; City, Cubs finalizing terms of Wrigley Field renovations; Ricketts: Time to talk Wrigley Field public funding again; Want to buy a chunk of Wrigley Field? Dream on; Gammon rips Wrigley Field, defends Ricketts; Mayor Rahm: No to city aid for Wrigley Field; Poll: Voters oppose public funding of Wrigley Field renovations; State funding of Wrigley Field renovations dies as Assembly adjourns
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