WRIGLEY FIELD — A proposed amendment to be considered by the City Council would pave the way for the new plaza outside Wrigley Field to serve alcohol.
The amendment, which outlines specific circumstances when booze could be sold, will be proposed by Ald. Tom Tunney (44th). His office declined to comment Friday afternoon.
The amendment, to be proposed at Wednesday's Council meeting, would allow beer and wine in plastic cups up to 16 ounces in size to be sold from as many as four places along the plaza. The plaza would be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Alcohol would be prohibited on the plaza during Chicago Cubs games or during events like concerts. Vendors would also have to wait until an hour after the games and events to sell beer or wine.
Drinks would have to be consumed on the plaza, although customers could take disposable cups in and out of the ballpark from the plaza.
The ordinance requires the Cubs to sign a plan of operation for events on the plaza and have a separate public place of amusement license for events. Events with more than 500 people would require additional security, restricted hours of operation and trash pickup.
Outdoor special events — those that serve alcohol, spill into public space, require city services or involve stages, booths or vendors — will not be permitted on the plaza.
The proposed ordinance places no limit on the number of events the Cubs can host in the plaza, a restriction discussed in neighborhood meetings.
The plaza would operate through a business separate from the Cubs — Hickory Street Capital — owned by the Ricketts family, according to Crain's Chicago Business.
The Ricketts family, which owns the team and Wrigley Field, criticized the time limitations in the proposed ordinance.
"The limit ... is overly restrictive and counter to the purpose of the plaza," said Ricketts family spokesman Dennis Culloton.
The Cubs want to sell booze an hour later, till 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends, suggesting parents might want to enjoy a glass of wine during a movie night.
"This limit would hurt those sort of events," Culloton said.
The Cubs resumed discussions on how the plaza should be used in November. Leaders of neighborhood organizations met with Tunney and Cubs officials to draft the ordinance.
Mike Lufrano, Cubs senior vice president of community affairs, worked with the neighbors to get feedback on the hours of operation and types of events the community wants at the plaza.
"The discussion started years ago, and we said we'll put that aside, because the plaza won't be open for years," Lufrano said. "The vision hasn't changed. It has always been that it helps the community continue to thrive."
While the Cubs clubhouse underneath the plaza should be ready for Opening Day, the plaza won't open until around the All-Star break in July, Lufrano said. The Cubs plan to move into the new office building in January 2017, but Lufrano cautioned that the Cubs' extended postseason delayed construction about six weeks in October.
The ground floor of the office building, which faces the plaza, will host retailers, restaurants and bars. Lufrano said talks had begun with tenants, but "the question they keep asking is, 'What will be allowed on the plaza?'"
In addition to providing a gathering space for Cubs fans, the plaza is intended to host events like family movie nights and farmers markets. Rebuilding a winter ice rink, which was there previously, also has been a part of the plan.
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.
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