The Illinois Sports Facilities Authority’s efforts to purchase and renovate the Chicago Cubs home — Wrigley Field — have stalled because the ballpark’s owner, the Tribune Co., believes some sales and amusement taxes or new taxes are needed to support the deal.
In a statement, the authority’s chairman, former Illinois Gov. James Thompson, said the ISFA could not agree to such a deal. “In our judgment, there are no votes in the City Council or in the Illinois General Assembly for transferred or new taxes for Wrigley Field,” he said.
The authority’s plan relied on the sale of taxable bonds that would be repaid with lease payments and a naming-rights deal. No price tag was released on the purchase price. The renovation costs were estimated at $400 million and the proposed plan relied on covering that expense in part with the sale of equity seat rights.
The Tribune Co. rejected the ISFA’s latest proposal that did not rely on any tax revenues, saying it would violate Major League Baseball policies. The Tribune is attempting to sell off the Cubs franchise and its venerable stadium. Thompson said he was open to resume negotiations with the Tribune or with a future owner of the ballpark.