Wrigley Field Renovation Deal Expected by Monday: Source
CHICAGO — The Cubs expect to reach a deal with the city by Monday for a $500 million package to renovate Wrigley Field and develop property around the ballpark, a team source confirmed.
The renovation deal to the 99-year-old stadium, as it stands, includes a video scoreboard for the left field, with the size still being worked out. It will impact some of the rooftops, the source confirmed. The Cubs also plan to build a 300-space parking garage on a vacant lot at Clark and Grace streets, the source confirmed.
The team will also move forward with plans to develop a hotel on the McDonald’s site across the street from Wrigley Field, whose most recent renderings showed it was as tall as the field at 91 feet and included a bridge over Clark. It must go through a regular planned development process, where renderings are presented to neighborhood groups, before Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) signs off.
The Cubs had sought to ease restrictions regarding night games and advertising in the ballpark, while pledging to finance the renovations without city money.
Some Wrigleyville neighbors have expressed concern that a deal would be made without resolving critical details about traffic, parking or security. The team said it is willing to pony up for more security in rowdy Wrigleyville to answer those concerns, the source confirmed.
Traffic studies are still in the works, as are final parking plans. The team is meeting with Tunney and neighborhood representatives on Tuesday to continue conversations about solutions, according to neighbors.
Tunney has said repeatedly he does not plan to agree to a deal until the Cubs have addressed those concerns.
Owners of the rooftop clubs that surround the stadium on Sheffield and Waveland avenues have argued that installing advertising signage would block the views they provide, violating an existing agreement with the club, which was signed when the Cubs were owned by Tribune Co.
The Cubs do not plan to extend the current contract with the rooftops that lasts until 2023, the source confirmed. Previously, the rooftops have said they are willing to go to court if the team does not respect the contract through its completion.
Neighbors have continuously complained at community meetings that information critical to the fabric of their neighborhood is being released through press leaks — not to the neighbors themselves, even though Cubs representatives regularly see the neighbors.
The rooftops have also not been at the negotiation table at City Hall, Beth Murphy of Murphy's Bleachers has said.
Just on Thursday afternoon, East Lake View Neighbors, whose boundaries encompass Wrigley Field, hand delivered a letter with concerns to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office in hopes of a public disclosure of proposed plans before a deal is done. The letter, signed by group president Chester Kropidlowski, emphasizes that current ordinances and contracts exist based on "real life experiences of neighbors and local businesses."
Murphy sits on the board of the group, along with Cubs' Green, other business owners and residents in the area.
"Our members revitalized the neighborhood when many of the pundits had written it off," the letter says. "Our neighborhood revitalized the Cubs. We are not the 'carpetbaggers'."
Kropidlowski said after hearing news from press reports, he still wants to hear straight from officials what the situation is.
Calls and emails to Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and his staff were not returned. A spokesman for the rooftops said they currently hvae no comment.
The team had sought an agreement by Opening Day, but a Cubs source said the deal would be official by Monday, when the Cubs open against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Sun-Times reported the city would agree to allow the Cubs to host more night games and concerts. The mayor's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by a trust established for the benefit of the family of Joe Ricketts, owner and CEO of DNAinfo.com Chicago. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the team's day-to-day operations.