Renovation talks continue past deadline
A conceptual sketch of the Wrigley Field concourse, post renovation. Image courtesy of cubs.com.
The self-imposed deadline of April 1 came and went without a Wrigley Field renovation deal, but according to Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts, talks progressed enough yesterday to keep all parties at the table in the coming days, as the details of a potential deal are hammered out.
Issues that continue to be contentious for the parties include plans for a 6,000 sq. foot videoboard above the left field bleachers and the relaxation of landmark restrictions by the City of Chicago. Neighborhood residents and business owners, including Alderman Tom Tunney, have voiced concerns over parking limitations, security and the potential increase for night games and other events.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke on the details of the April 1 deadline with ABC Chicago recently, saying, “I did not set the deadline… They did and they’re a party to the conversation and I believe when all the parties have something to say, they’ll say it.”
Last week, Wrigley rooftop owners released a statement, attacking the recent actions of Cubs ownership, concluding their statement by saying, “The Rooftops are a tremendous economic engine creating significant revenue for city, county and state government.. The full text of the statement can be seen here in a recent Cubbies Crib post.
Other potential options include a proposed move to Rosemont, after the organization was offered a piece of land near O’Hare International Airport with no cost, and a lower amusement tax two weeks ago. The Cubs have not commented publicly on their level of interest in the proposal.
Cubs operation president Theo Epstein told reporters after the team’s Opening Day win over the Pirates that completing this renovation deal is, “fundamentally important to get us to the next level as an organization.”
The deal is expected to help increase revenue for the team, and greatly improve the quality of the near-century old ballpark located on the city’s North Side. Ricketts also plans to build a hotel across the street from Wrigley Field, and has offered to pay for the entirety of the project himself, as opposed to seeking public funds for the work.
Chicago continues its series in Pittsburgh Wednesday evening at 6:05 P.M. and open their 2013 home schedule on Monday, April 8 at 1:20 P.M. against the Milwaukee Brewers.