Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Landmarks Commission Approves Tax Break

According to multiple reports on Thursday, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks granted the Class L designation to the Wrigley Field restoration plan. The Class L designation “would reduce the stadium’s property taxes in 2019 upon completion of the rehab project and would be worth an estimated $8.1 million over the next 12 years” according to the report from Ted Cox.

Even with the designation, which still has to be passed by the City Council, the Cubs reiterated on Thursday the construction will not begin until the issues are resolved with the rooftop owners. The Cubs are now saying there is a possibility they will move forward with the approved outfield signs that could block some of the rooftop club views.

Cubs’ spokesman, Julian Green, addressed the situation with the rooftop owners and said the team is hoping for a quick resolution.

The biggest surprise to come out of the news about the Cubs receiving the approval for the tax break was that value of Wrigley Field was assessed at only $19.2 million. In order for the team to qualify for the tax break, they had to show that at least half of the assessed value was being spent on the restoration of the old ballpark. When it was determined the team only had to spend $9.6 million on the project, which is far below the $300 million the team is expected to spend on the park, questions were raised as to why Wrigley’s value was so low.

The Cubs insist they will “wind up paying much more in property taxes, even with the reduction, after the stadium is reassessed upon completion.”

The Cubs appear to be pushing the rooftop owners into settling their differences with the team. Tom Ricketts is concerned the rooftop owners are going to sue and he has said he will not move forward with the project until the issues with the rooftop owners are solved. Thursday was the first time the team threatened to install the outfield signs and block the rooftop views.

The Cubs have proposed a right field party deck, that Mayor Emanuel is supportive of, in order to cut down on the views that could be blocked by the 650 square-foot see-through sign.

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