State to present bid for Wrigley Thompson: Deal, renovations can be made without tax money

04/30/2008 10:15 AM ET

CHICAGO — Former Gov. James Thompson, chairman of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, said the agency has come up with a plan to purchase and renovate Wrigley Field without using state or local tax dollars.

Thompson said on Tuesday the bid would be delivered “shortly” to Tribune Co. Cubs chairman Crane Kenney, who told the Chicago Tribune he had not received details of a revised plan.

“We are working on a proposal to present to Tribune Co. that will allow ISFA to acquire and fully restore Wrigley Field, as well as add parking and neighborhood improvements without using any public tax money, either state or local,” Thompson told the Chicago Tribune.

ISFA and the Tribune Co. have been in negotiations regarding the sale of Wrigley Field, but many state lawmakers have been reluctant to spend tax dollars to aid a private business.

In the revised plan, Thompson said financing would be obtained in the private sector and there would be no issuance of bonds by the state. Team lease payments and the sale of partial naming rights would cover the cost of purchasing the ballpark, Thompson said. He did not say how ISFA would pay for the proposed renovation.

New Tribune Co. chairman Sam Zell announced more than a year ago that he planned on selling the Cubs and Wrigley Field, but the team sale has stalled because of the stadium negotiations. On April 17, Zell said he was going to release the ballclub’s financial books to Major League Baseball-approved bidders within 10 days or so. However, that is still on hold.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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