White Sox Discuss Potential Stadium at The 78 Megadevelopment in South Loop

Latest official rendering for the 78 with the Discovery Partners Institute in right foreground (stadium not included). Rendering by OMA and Jacobs

The Chicago White Sox are reportedly in discussions with Mayor Brandon Johnson and developer Related Midwest over a potential new baseball stadium within ‘The 78’, a 62-acre mixed-use development project in South Loop. The long-underdeveloped plot has undergone multiple iterations in recent years for a sprawling new neighborhood with residential and office buildings, public spaces such as parks and promenades, and most recently the University of Illinois’ Discovery Partners Institute, with its construction expected to begin this year.

Discovery Partners Institute at The 78. Rendering by OMA and Jacobs

The prospect of a new Sox stadium for The 78 comes on the heels of a failed bid to construct a casino and observation tower on the site, with this casino now planned for the River West neighborhood. Regarding the potential plans for the ballpark, The Chicago Sun-Times reported that sources close to the talks, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the aforementioned parties are indeed in advanced stages of negotiations.

Existing site context map for DPI by OMA and Jacobs

Official statements on these plans have been relatively sparse, with Mayor Johnson and White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf issuing a joint statement that they had “met to discuss the historic partnership between the team and Chicago and the team’s ideas for remaining competitive in Chicago in perpetuity.” Another significant statement on the subject was by Bill Jackson, executive director for the Discovery Partners Institute, who indicated enthusiasm over the possibility of having a new stadium and its infrastructure to complement the facility.

Guaranteed Rate Field (formerly known as Comiskey Park and U.S. Cellular Field), shown here, opened in 1991, built adjacent to the original Comiskey Park, which had been the home of the White Sox since 1910. Photo by redlegsfan21 on Flickr.

If the Sox were to relocate, it would involve a longer timeline that may well extend into the 2030s. For starters, the team’s lease lasts until 2029. Additionally, the team has yet to confer with the Illinois Sports Authority, which owns Guaranteed Rate Field, about transitioning out of their current venue. Questions also remain regarding the feasibility of integrating a major league facility with parking near Discovery Partners. The Chicago Sun-Times mentioned that stadium consultant Marc Ganis remained optimistic. He suggested that a nearly 40,000-seat stadium and its parking could fit if the parking was arranged vertically as a garage rather than as surface lots.

Currently, no timeline nor have official details been given as the current discussions are still preliminary and uncertain.

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18 Comments on "White Sox Discuss Potential Stadium at The 78 Megadevelopment in South Loop"

  1. Anti-Parking Wizard | January 19, 2024 at 8:46 am | Reply

    Why would parking around a new stadium be an issue? Chicago has the perfect template for building a neighborhood oriented ballpark without parking garages and surface lots. There will be a red line stop basically on-site and green line access within 1/2 mile. Plus, you could create a similar park and ride situation that exists for Wrigley and supplement additional parking needs via privately owned lots that haven’t yet been developed. The fact people are still beholden to failed 1950s and 1960s development patterns is baffling—especially for a property that would be vacant roughly 265 days a year.

    And of course, none of this should suggest I support the city funding Reinsdorf’s vanity project that serves only to enrich himself. Frankly, the city would be better off lighting a billion dollars on fire. But if it’s going to be done, it should be done right.

    • Reinsdorf likes parking and the revenue it generates for him. My understanding (not 100% is that the Sox reap the revenues from the lots around Sox Park. I wonder why, if he wants a “village atmosphere” he hasn’t just allowed people to develop around the existing stadium. If the current asphalt were platted out for homes, 2/3/4 Flats I’m sure that they would fill up. That would give it the same vibe as Wrigleyville. Same is true of United Center (which is owned jointly between Reinsdorf and the Blackhawks)…if anybody is keeping it from being a village, it’s them.

      • Anti-Parking Wizard | January 19, 2024 at 2:20 pm | Reply

        The crazy thing is an architect named Phillip Bess drew up plans for a new White Sox stadium that had the village/neighborhood type feel back in the late-1980s. The “new Comiskey” would have been in Armour Square Park, and it would have been surrounded by traditional urban mixed use development. Both the White Sox and the state of Illinois rejected it immediately in favor of the half-assed Kauffman Stadium rip off—minus the trademark fountains—surrounded by a sea of parking.

  2. terrible idea. traffic would be a nightmare. only a couple ways in or out of the area. Roosevelt and Clark. CTA is Several blocks away. Maybe the Sox should focus on winning instead of real estate.

    • Anti-Parking Wizard | January 19, 2024 at 9:18 am | Reply

      A new CTA red line station will located right across the street. Also, the Roosevelt green line station is a 10-12 minute walk. If the route is lined with quality street scape of bars and restaurants, the distance won’t be a problem.

    • People bringing up traffic on YIMBY, lol. You are the traffic Scott. Wrigley does it with worse infrastructure, and the Red Line would add a stop on site.

  3. Please don’t face it the wrong way again.

  4. Great idea! Location is perfect and access for orange and blue lines are 2 blocks away with the redline stopping onsite! The views from the stadium would be absolutely beautiful with the high rises in the background! Go SOX!

  5. The website fieldofschemes.com does a good job explaining all the machinations involved in stadium projects transferring wealth from cities to the team owners. The city will likely pay hundreds of millions of dollars for infrastructure improvements while the Sox collect all the revenue and pay no rent or property tax. The Bears are trying the same tactic.

    • You can’t ignore the benefit of having hundreds of thousands of people a year supporting neighborhood businesses, staying at local hotels, tipping local citizens, and paying tons of sales tax. The amount of jobs and surrounding business alone is massive.

  6. Johnson should be spending his time issuing statements and addressing the underlying reasons why they’re looking to move out of south side…

    • Bridgeport is not a bad neighborhood…Stop being ignorant. They want to move out of the current stadium because they want updated facilities, not because of the location.

    • Theu are not moving because of crime. They want more money. The projects used to be very close to the United Center and Bulls never had any issues.The White Sox would likely bring in millions more in that location. I could see people catching a Sox game after work or visitors of the city going to a nearby Sox game. I could also see more luxury suites and higher ticket prices in a higher income area.

  7. No parking needed here. Just about every train in Chicago would be a 5-25 minute walk from here and there is the water taxi. Could easily be the most accessible stadium in Chicago. Just make sure the outfield backdrop is the skyline.

    And for those saying “worry about winning” – guess what? MLB doesn’t have a salary cap. The Sox getting a better stadium plays into them winning more in the long run.

    GO SOX

  8. I hope this harebrain idea for the misuse of the 78 land gets rejected quickly.

  9. Could you guys include the leaked renderings that displays the potential ballpark? Those renderings are on NBC Sports Chicago website.

  10. What a terrible waste of some of the most valuable and accessible land right next to the Loop. A real, 24/7 neighborhood with housing, shops, and continuation of the park would serve Chicago much better. A stadium that is empty half the year, and its parking garages will create a dead zone in the heart of Chicago. Big NO.

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