WRIGLEY FIELD — Could there be a compromise emerging in the talks over the Wrigley Field plaza?
Rahm Emanuel seems to think so.
The mayor spoke on the negotiations Tuesday as owners of the Chicago Cubs sparred with Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and Lakeview neighbors over plaza operations.
Emanuel said he expects results from talks he's had with Tunney and the Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs, Wrigley Field and the adjacent lot set to become a hotel.
"People are talking to each other — that's the good news," Emanuel said. "There's not total agreement on everything, but there's a consensus emerging of how to move forward."
While nothing formal has come together, Emanuel said he expects to find a solution that allows the Cubs adequate use of the plaza while still being "a good neighbor to the rest of the community."
Last week, the Cubs filed for an outdoor patio liquor license, and the move further deteriorated stalled talks between the ballpark and neighbors over the proposed ordinance.
"There are a lot of businesses that rely on a thriving team and a thriving stadium," Emanuel said Tuesday. "The plaza was always envisioned ... in a way that can accomplish those set goals."
Since the city refused to supply funds for the $750 million Wrigley Field renovations during talks four years ago, the Cubs must find a way to make the project profitable, Emanuel acknowledged.
The Wrigley Field plaza will host family movie nights and a winter ice rink, but the Cubs and the community disagree on its use. [Provided/Chicago Cubs]
"We said it's your team and it's your field, so you're going to have to make the improvements on your dime," he said. Still, the Cubs should make room for a compromise that keeps neighbors happy, Emanuel suggested.
Neighbors, however, accused the Cubs of "trying to bypass the community engagement process" with the liquor license.
READ THE FULL LETTER BELOW
Leaders of four Lakeview neighborhood groups said the "misguided" move alienated the community and amounted to bullying.
"After all of the entitlements given to the Cubs organization in recent years, it came as a surprise to read your comments indicating your impatience with a process that has already greatly enhanced your business," the letter stated.
The presidents of East Lake View Neighbors, Southport Neighbors, Hawthorne Neighbors and Triangle Neighbors asked Ricketts to come back to the table and "engage us in the genuine and respectful manner that we deserve."
Tunney, the Cubs and a spokesman for the Ricketts family did not immediately respond to a request 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. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the management of the iconic team.
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