Continuing with a trend of upbeat offseason news, Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and his family is reportedly close to purchasing a pair of Wrigleyville rooftops owned by George Loukas, which could be a precursor to other owners falling in line and following suit, according to a report from CBS Sports’ Bruce Levine.
To be clear, the deal would not give the Cubs organization ownership of the two properties. Instead, a separate entity, Ricketts Family LLC, would control the buildings, which, according to one source that talked with Levine, came with a price tag of $6 million apiece.
"The sale by Loukas points to many others falling in line and selling the other rooftop buildings to the Cubs. An unconfirmed source said the sale price was $6 million per building; that was not confirmed by a second source."
Levine points out that the fact the team’s press conference to introduce new manager Joe Maddon on Monday is being held at the Cubby Bear, a Wrigleyville bar also owned by Loukas, is also a positive sign for the two sides, which have been locked in legal battles for the past few years. Threats of legal action remain even today as the team demolishes the outfield bleachers ahead of the rebuilding of the structures and the installation of a pair of video boards that will block several rooftops’ views prior to Opening Day 2015.
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Ricketts has given little public attention to the most recent lawsuit put forth by a group of rooftop owners, failing to mention it at all in his letter to season ticket holders in early October, which Levine also detailed.
"Those owners hope to block the addition of as many as seven outfield signs that can be affixed to the back of the newly renovated Wrigley Field bleachers in 2015."
The installation of the aforementioned signs is just the first of a four-part renovation project that includes a complete overhaul of player facilities, the interior and exterior of the 100-year-old stadium, updated concessions and development of the area surrounding Wrigley Field. There has been no word on the lawsuit in recent weeks, and, as noted over the past month here at Cubbies Crib, Ricketts has been in talks with several of the owners in hopes of avoiding any more unnecessary hindrances of the project.
The bleacher project and installation of major signage behind the seats is expected to be completed ahead of the Cubs’ home opener against St. Louis on April 6, 2015.