Cubs Suggest Pushing Exterior Wall Back, Back, Back Toward Waveland
LAKEVIEW — To accommodate a jumbotron in left field and minimize the amount it blocks the views of rooftops, the Cubs are pitching a plan to push an exterior Wrigley Field wall out eight feet, taking up part of Waveland Avenue.
When the Cubs expanded the famed bleachers in 2006, the exterior walls were rebuilt, with cantilevers extending above the Waveland Avenue sidewalk below.
The Cubs, according to several sources, are now suggesting pushing the left field exterior wall, the cantilevers and the sidewalk back toward Waveland Avenue. That would shrink the width of Waveland and possibly get rid of street parking on the north side of the street.
Team representative Mike Lufrano and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) mentioned the Cubs' idea at Tuesday night's combined Community Directed Development Council and Lake View Citizens' Council meeting, intended to provide community feedback to Wrigley Field negotiation plans, according to multiple people who attended.
The hope is that with the screen closer to the rooftop buildings across Waveland, the view of rooftop visitors will not be completely obstructed thanks to an improved angle.
Adding a jumbotron, the size of which is still being worked out but has been pitched as 6,000 square feet, is already a fixed part of the deal, Tunney said after Wednesday's City Council meeting.
The street parking could be lost so that Waveland from Sheffield to Clark stays a two-way street, sources said. The group discussed having Cubs potentially offer spots in team-owned lots to mitigate lost spots, said Will DeMille, the president of Lake View Citizens' Council.
Beth Murphy, of Murphy's Bleachers, attended the meeting, but the rooftops do not have a comment on the proposal, said rooftops spokesman Ryan McLaughlin.
"We continue to express concern that there's not more details being brought to the public," he said.
Tunney said Wednesday that although talks are progressing, the Cubs have been asking for more without laying down details of everything they want..
"The specifics keep changing, and the asks keep changing," he said. "I'm not a moving target. I know where I'm grounded and I know what I stand for."
A Cubs source said the team is open to a proposal involving moving exterior walls and that the team has always sought ideas "to accommodate the rooftops as best as possible."
Parking and signage have been sticking points in the ongoing negotiations of the Cubs' pursuit of eased restrictions to help fund a $300 million renovation of the stadium. Tunney has refused to sign off until community concerns are addressed.
Tunney encouraged attendees to tell neighbors about what happened at the meeting, but final proposals must still be vetted through wider neighborhood meetings.
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.