New renderings of what a White Sox stadium in the South Loop of Chicago had fans excited on Wednesday night about the opportunity to watch their favorite team in a state-of-the-art facility. But what would happen to the area around Guaranteed Rate Field if the South Siders moved a few miles north?
Related Midwest, the developer of “The 78,” the site where the White Sox are exploring building their new stadium, answered that question with some renderings of what Bridgeport could look like if the Sox leave.
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Related Midwest imagines “active streets and new housing opportunities” on a “reimagined campus” that appears to have a soccer pitch replacing the baseball diamond inside Guaranteed Rate Field. For what it’s worth, the Chicago Fire currently play at Soldier Field and could have the place to themselves if/when the Bears ultimately move elsewhere. The Red Stars play at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview.
The park would be located in "The 78," an area located in Chicago's South Loop with a name paying homage to the city's 77 official community areas, with the development serving as the city's unofficial 78th neighborhood.
A report from the Chicago Sun-Times last month stated that the Chicago White Sox are considering constructing a new stadium on the plot of land, with the move taking place after the team's lease at Guaranteed Rate Field expires following the 2029 season.
Related Midwest also released a "Project Impact" plan, which lays out expected benefits for the city of Chicago.
The plan projects five million annual visitors, a $9 billion investment in Chicago, $4 billion stabilized annual economic impact, 32,000 jobs, 1,000 affordable units, $200 million annual tax revenue, 10+ acres of space for the community and 1,300 residential units.
“The 78” is located in the South Loop, bounded by Roosevelt Rd. to the north, Clark St. to the east and the Chicago River on west. It runs to just about Ping Tom Park to the south.
Three CTA lines stop right at Roosevelt and State Street, just a couple of blocks east of the property: the red line, green line and orange lines. Several bus lines also provide close access to the area: the 3, 4, 12, 18, 24, 29, 62, 130, 146 and 157 lines. For fans who want a ride down the river, there is also a water taxi stop at Ping Tom Park.
The 62-acre area was originally created from a landfill project to straighten the South Branch of the Chicago River that ran from the 1910s to the 1920s. Back then, the space was used as a rail yard. According to “The 78”’s development website, in the 1970s the rail lines were removed and the space was vacant by 1977. Former Chicago mover and shaker Tony Rezko bought the land in 2001 and had plans for mixed-use development, but those plans never went anywhere. Related Midwest bought the property in 2016. They’ve already made plans to develop other big projects on the site, like the University of Illinois’ Discovery Partners Institute.