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respect wrigleyYesterday, the Chicago Cubs secured the Landmarks Commission’s approval of “Class L” property tax status for Wrigley Field, which will pave the way to a tax incentive as the Cubs rehabilitate and renovate Wrigley Field.

The tax break, which is available by law to any number of other property owners, is designed to encourage the preservation of historically or architecturally significant buildings. In other words, if you’ve got a 100-year-old, one-of-a-kind baseball stadium with nets holding falling concrete crumbles, you’re probably exactly who this tax break was designed for. The Landmarks Commission agreed with respect to Wrigley Field, and the Cubs now get a touch more incentive to proceed with the comprehensive Wrigley Field renovation and development plan, which was approved by City Council last week.

Even if this weren’t a tax break that was available to any entity rehabbing an important historic facility, let’s not go crazy about the whole public subsidy piece of this. We’re talking about $8 million, spread over 12 years, and not kicking in for another five or six years. When you stack that against a $500 million, privately-funded project (which will, itself, generate far, far more tax revenue than that $8 million), it’s chump change. Further, the renovated Wrigley Field will actually net the county significantly more property tax over time, because Wrigley will be assessed at a much higher value.

In other words, the Cubs are getting a tax break available to everyone else when they do a project like this, and they’ll actually wind up paying more in tax after the project is done.

I’m not sure I’m even comfortable calling this a tax “break” anymore.

That all said, $8 million saved is $8 million earned, and I choose to think of this as a future reliever. (You know, inflation.)

You can read more about the approval process and the details of the historic aspects of the Wrigley renovation/restoration here in the Tribune or here in Crain’s.

The Class L property status will have to be approved by City Council as well, but that shouldn’t be an issue. In the interim, we continue to await a solution to the Cubs/rooftops standoff before the Cubs can begin construction. At least the sides appear to be working on a solution, as discussed yesterday, involving a patio deck behind right field.

  • aCubsFan

    This article sure doesn’t make it sound like the Cubs and rooftop owners are working to a resolution.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’ll be writing about that. Separate issue. Just a little posturing.

      • aCubsFan

        It maybe posturing, but I don’t think the Cubs and rooftop owners are anywhere close to certainty that the RTOs won’t sue. And, there’s even less certainty that after a 10-year sign moratorium that the Cubs would be able to run their business as they see fit without interference from the city or the RTOs.

        • CubsFanSaxMan

          I don’t know how many rooftop businesses there are, but it only takes one to “gum up” the works, so to speak.

  • http://ehanauer.com clark addison

    The walkway over Sheffield is a horrible idea. Underneath it will be dark and moldy, like under the L tracks, only worse. A homeless campsite and a great place for a mugging.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Because the Cubs would probably let all of these things happen and have no vested interest if they do start occurring, right?

      • Funn Dave

        Something tells me the Cubs won’t be paying for security guards (nor should they) or trash collectors under the bridge.

      • Funn Dave

        They can’t even control scalpers or unlicensed merch.

  • Funn Dave

    “Further, the renovated Wrigley Field will actually net the county significantly more property tax over time, because Wrigley will be assessed at a much higher value.

    In other words, the Cubs are getting a tax break available to everyone else when they do a project like this, and they’ll actually wind up paying more in tax after the project is done.

    I’m not sure I’m even comfortable calling this a tax ‘break’ anymore.”

    Great article up to this point. It actually eased the initial apprehensions I had upon reading the headline–Brett’s right; Wrigley absolutely does qualify for it. I just wanted to make sure readers know that the increase in property taxes has nothing to do the tax break. They’d be paying increased taxes with or without it.

  • Die hard

    The overpass was owners proposed solution and may work to settle dispute if agreement extended again …

  • DarthHater

    “I choose to think of this as covering Carlos Marmol’s salary.” – FTFY

  • Kevin

    Who pushed to have the “Landmark Status” added to Wrigley Field back in 2004? Did this help or hurt the Cubs?

    • Josh t

      With out a doubt hurt the cubs. Every detail of the park that changes needs to get approved by the land mark commission. It’s a pain in the ass to get the renovation done. Can’t even put up new signage with out their approval

      • TWC

        “Every detail of the park that changes needs to get approved by the land mark commission. ”

        Nope. That’s not true.

        “Can’t even put up new signage with out their approval”

        Not true either.

  • Kevin

    Just wondered if Tunney pushed it through with pressure from the rooftops in an effort to protect their business.

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