Cubs trim Wrigley signs to win federal tax credit

The Chicago Cubs are heading back to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to change its plan for outfield signs in the renovated Wrigley Field in hopes of winning a federal tax credit said to be worth $75 million.

In an unexpected development, the Cubs are scheduled to appear before the commission Dec. 4, when they will present a revised proposal that includes six outfield signs above the Wrigley Field bleachers instead of the seven the panel approved in July, according to a source familiar with the plan.

The 2,400-square-foot video board in right field will be reduced in size to 2,200 square feet and moved closer to the right-field line. A script ad sign that had been located down the right-field line will be moved to the location of the video board. And an advertising sign in left-center field will be removed, and a 3,990-square-foot video board above the left field bleachers will be moved 30 feet closer to the left field foul pole.

How much advertising revenue the Cubs would lose because of the changes could not be determined.

Despite winning approval in July to construct seven signs—all of which were supposed to be up by the beginning of next season—the team has adjusted its plan after a negotiation with the National Park Service to earn a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Winning such a status from the National Park Service is a vital piece of the Cubs’ financial plan because it would qualify the team for a valuable tax credit for preserving a historic landmark.

The potential credit, which would effectively reimburse Cubs ownership for some of the roughly $375 million it plans to spend on the renovation, would be equal to 20 percent of qualified rehabilitation costs.

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