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Wrigley Rehab Clears Final Hurdle, Heads for City Council Vote

By Ted Cox | July 23, 2013 5:31pm
 The Cubs released renderings on April 30 of the proposed video screen in left field, the hotel across the street and other changes in the neighborhood around Wrigley Field. 
Cubs Release Renderings of Video Screen, Hotel
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CITY HALL — The planned Wrigley Field renovation cleared the final hurdle Tuesday and headed to the full City Council for approval on Wednesday.

At the end of a marathon session Tuesday, the Zoning Committee put its stamp on the Wrigley rehab project, following the lead of the Committee on Chicago Landmarks and the Plan Commission, which signed off on the $500 million project with minor changes earlier in the month.

The committee approved it unanimously by voice vote.

Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said he won three last concessions from the Cubs on the project, in tandem with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The Cubs agreed to remove plans to build a portico on a proposed 182-room hotel on Clark Street, which was to connect to Wrigley Field via a crosswalk bridge spanning Clark as part of the $500 million rehabilitation. They will also reconsider placement of the hotel entrance from a side street to either Clark or Addison Street.

 Ald. Tom Tunney (right) examines the Cubs' Wrigley Field presentation to the Zoning Committee Tuesday.
Ald. Tom Tunney (right) examines the Cubs' Wrigley Field presentation to the Zoning Committee Tuesday.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

But otherwise the project was approved as planned.

"There's still a lot of questions for the community," Tunney said, but with those compromises he was prepared to support it, and the deal was "put to rest." He did insist, however, that the Clark Street bridge would be deferred "let me emphasize — indefinitely," later adding that would be "a very, very long time," if ever.

Tunney and the mayor also got a concession from the Cubs that the two approved outfield signs would be the only ones the team would post, at the very least, until their contract with rooftop owners expires. Tunney encouraged the Cubs and rooftop owners to continue negotiations going forward.

Cub spokesman Julian Green said the city offered the team "no assurances" that the rooftop owners wouldn't sue them over the renovation plans, but another spokesman said the team would continue to talk with rooftop owners.

Emanuel issued a statement Tuesday evening on the zoning committee's approval of the renovation plan.

"I am pleased that the zoning committee has approved the plans for the revitalization of Wrigley Field and the surrounding area," the statement read. "This has been a collaborative process which has involved significant input from the community. While there is work yet to do, we are continuing to move forward on this plan to bring valuable jobs and economic impact to the Lakeview community without using any taxpayer dollars."

"As outlined today, we are deferring three development issues in order to discuss alternative solutions," Green said in a statement. "We also need to resolve all outstanding issues with the rooftops and amend the night-game ordinance so as not to conflict with Major League Baseball's national television contract.  We look forward to resolving these and other open issues from the announced April framework in order to finally make plans to break ground on our renovation of Wrigley Field and construction of the plaza and hotel."

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. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the management of the iconic team.