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Cubs Could Get $8.1 Million Property Tax Break On Wrigley Renovations

By aaroncynic in News on Aug 2, 2013 7:30PM

Thursday the Chicago Landmarks Commission endorsed a property tax break for Wrigley Field renovations worth an estimated $8.1 million. The Chicago Tribune reports under the proposal, the stadium will be assessed at 10 percent of its value for the first 10 years after renovations are complete, followed by incremental 5 percent increases over the following three years. Presently, the team pays $1.5 million in property taxes.

Critics say the break may as well be a taxpayer subsidy and isn't necessary for the estimated $300 million rehabilitation project. Cubs spokesperson Julian Green dodged questions as to whether the Ricketts family could afford to pay for the project without the break, but gave the “other people get a tax break, so should we” answer, telling the Tribune that both the Wrigley and Monadnock buildings received similar breaks. “This is a value to the citizens of Chicago because we are restoring the third-largest tourist attraction of the state of Illinois, one that’s going to bring tremendous economic value,” Green added.

A spokesperson for Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the property tax break was not a direct subsidy and stressed the potential economic benefits of the renovation project. “This is what responsible owners of landmarked buildings have done for years, and this restoration will spur long-term economic growth that will be a net positive for the city,” Sarah Hamilton told the Tribune.

The Chicago City Council will still have to approve the break. Last month, the council approved the renovation project, but local rooftop owners are still at odds with Ricketts over blockage of their views of the park. Crain’s Chicago reports Ricketts says renovations won’t begin until rooftop owners agree not to sue over blockage that would be created by signs the team plans to put up towards the back of the field.