Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Rooftop Owners Unveil Plan

The Wrigleyville rooftop owners unveiled their plan Friday morning to help the Cubs restore Wrigley Field. During a press conference held at Murphy’s Bleachers, the rooftop owners discussed what they called a “common-sense plan” and a “win-win” for both sides.

The rooftop owners are concerned the Cubs will put signage inside the ballpark which would block the view from their buildings and put them out of business. The rooftop owners proposed that large digital signs be added to the rooftops with the Cubs and the city splitting the revenue.

Under the rooftop owners’ proposal, the signs would generate $10-$20 million in revenue that the Cubs and the city would split and the rooftop owners would not see any profit from the signage. The owners assume the Cubs would use the money to restore Wrigley Field while the city could use the funds to add police protection and other things that would benefit the Wrigleyville community.

The Ricketts family released a statement though spokesman Dennis Culloton in response to the rooftop owners’ proposal.

“The Ricketts Family and the Chicago Cubs want the right to run their business so they can continue to be good stewards of Wrigley Field and save the beloved ballpark for future generations. They also want to invest $500 million and create nearly 2,000 construction and permanent jobs in Wrigley Field and the neighborhood. None of this is possible with continued restrictions and outside business interests blocking the Cubs from generating revenue being realized by every other team in pro sports. If the rooftop owners have a new plan, they would be advised to discuss it with the team instead of holding press conferences because a deadline is fast approaching for the team and the City to move forward.”

The Cubs think they can generate more money from the signage being located in the park and they would not have to split the money with the city.

The rooftop owners have a contract with the Cubs that runs through 2023 that states the Cubs will not block the view from the rooftops in exchange for 17 percent of their profits. According to a report from ESPN Chicago, the rooftop owners “are worried that provision will not be upheld if challenged by the Cubs under the idea that the Cubs are doing a civic good for the neighborhood with the rehab project which would bring jobs, both temporary and permanent, to the area.”

The rooftop owners think they are much as part of the Wrigleyville experience as the ballpark and one owner thinks the Cubs might not have been there if it wasn’t for Murphy’s Bleachers and the Cubby Bear creating an entertainment experience in the area.

Ald. Tunney released a statement on Friday afternoon.

“There are many creative ideas and moving parts that surround current discussions for improvements at Wrigley Field and the surrounding area. I am supportive of ideas to help renovate the stadium. The advertising proposal from the rooftops can be part of the larger picture for preserving Wrigley. I remain committed to working with the Cubs and small businesses in the neighborhood. Most importantly, we will continue to engage our residents in discussions concerning Wrigley Field and their quality of life.”

Mayor Emanuel has urged both sides to find a common ground.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again." – Bob Feller

Share on Fancred
  • Dorasaga

    I’m sure rooftop owners are selfless Cubs fans who want to serve the community, as public as possible, and as much as the Ricketts long-term plan proposed. Sorry to the rooftop owners, but I don’t feel that they WERE an essential part of the Wrigleyville experience as the ballpark itself. The main product has always been the players on the field and the history that surround them.

    I never heard the rooftop owners supported more night games. I heard nothing of these owners to create more parking space. I heard nothing of these owners to provide voluntary services to host guests from out of town or other countries to know more about Chicago, the Cubs, the Wrigley Field.

    I’m not asking the rooftop owners to provide support for a Triangle Building, a hotel, or a shopping mall. But they can do so much more. Create a tour plan and other possible ways to share our heritage. All I heard was that rooftop owners are contempt with the limit of the Cubs, confined under all the rules upon them, as a result of dirty Chicago politics and a foolish Cubs owner before, a.k.a. JK.

    The rooftop owners have little risks on this business by maximizing profits, while the Cubs do good but can’t progress, at least certain parts, due to the city’s restrictions. I always thought that’s the way of life, but if the rooftop owners can agree with the Cubs to change certain part of this way, then they should work WITH the Cubs and the city, not unilaterally.

    We celebrate history of yesterday. Today, we make history for our next generation to enjoy and prosper.

    • SuzyS

      “We celebrate history of yesterday. Today, we make history for our next generation to enjoy and prosper.”
      I love it, Dorasaga…well said.

  • RickinMSP

    I know this may be speaking heresy in some circles, but I hope the city, neighborhood and the historical society all work to deny the Cubs what they want. Wrigley Field is a old outdated dump that needs to be bulldozed. I would like to see the Cubs move to a modern stadium somewhere, I don’t know the Chicago area so I have no suggsestions. I get there once a year and love Wrigleyville, but the staduim needs to go. It is obvious that none of these groups that have a say in what can be done have the best interest of the Cubs in mind, so move and you don’t have to dealwith them. Give the stadium to the historical society and let them deal with it. Just my two cents.

    • Brp921

      I have been a Cubs fan for forty plus years and have enjoyed making the two and a half hour trip to Wrigley Field once or twice a year with the family and taking in the atmosphere. I love taking in a game and then walking around Wrigleyville and finding a restaurant or bar I haven’t been to having dinner and relaxing a little before the long drive home. Wrigleyville is great atmosphere. I would miss that if they move. Having said that , though, I must say that I agree with you Rick, it’s time for a new park in a new location. Wrigley Field is old and falling apart. There is just no room to tear it down and build what they need in the same location, if there was I’d be all for it. Besides it really galls me that the government either local, state, or federal feel the can dictate what a private citizen may or may not do with their own private property. It was a meddling city government in Baltimore that prompted Robert Irsay to move the Colt’s franchise to Indianapolis in 1984. I think the Ricketts should look for some property on the northside where they would have the room to build a spacious new ballpark with state of the art facilities and the freedom to play as many night games as every other team in baseball, to be on an even playing field with the rest of the league.

      • SuzyS

        Brp921, well now we have a debate :-) Since I live in the Joliet area…I’d like it to be close to the Chicagoland Speedway area…lots of open land down here!!! Maybe we could get some CCO guys together and build a “rooftop building” across from the new park…lol.

        Seriously, the best scenario would be to demolish and rebuild right where Wrigley is…
        The downside to that idea is that you’d still have to deal with the Chicago taxes/corruption/business owners.

        Imagine the business owners across from the park during the demolition and construction phases…what would it take…2-4 years?

        Try suggesting that …and then give them the alternative of night games/signage/concerts.

        • Brp921

          Suzy, since we’re moving them south, I’m just an hour north of Indy…KIDDING…seriously though if they were to move, I would still prefer the northside. That would be a problem anywhere in the city though and an expensive proposition. How about “Wrigley on the lakeshore” somewhere around Navy Peir or the “Lincoln Park Cubs” lol.

          • SuzyS

            The Cubs are no saints…instead of “Lincoln Park Cubs” …How about the old Steve Goodman song:


        • DWalker

          part of the problem is the location just isn’t big enough for everything a major market stadium really needs, and the infrastructure is a major limitation. I don’t think most club owners would ever consider staying at that location if building a new stadium, the limits are just too big, even without the city and the rooftop issue. Frankly, I can’t imagine wanting to live or own a business in Chicago, and I think Ricketts would not cry to many tears if they never had to deal with the city again on the issue.

          In my book, Wrigley as an Ideal is a wonderful thing. Wrigley as it is, is a problem. This renovation will barely bring it up to modern standards in some areas, and in others its still going to be sub par. The very architecture and charm that is the ideal of Wrigley is the very thing that ensures it will never again be a top class park. Don’t get me wrong, the fact that Wrigley has that archaic charm is its draw, but its lacks so much that other parks take for granted.

          I’d be ok to see a move out of Chicago, especially if they could do it as a retro park, in which case I’d be happy. Haul the scoreboard over and replant the ivy. Make it look like a 100 year old ball park basing the architecture off the current park on the surface with all the modern features a major market team and its fans deserve under it. Put it on a tract of land large enough to fit in everything they need. If they ant to recreate the rooftop feel, put up some red brick buildings along one side with bleachers on them. I hate the modern gimmicks like the marlins new stadium, I like the old retro look.

          • triple

            I love the idea of a retro park with the scoreboard and ivy transplanted from the real Wrigley. In fact, I think they can basically build the bleachers just a little bigger, and instead of the buildings across the street, they could actually butt up to the back of the bleachers. The buildings would be part of the ballpark (kinda like SD’s park) and be used for restaurants, luxury suites, and the such, and on top of them can be a 2nd deck of bleacher seats just about a dozen rows deep, and kind of emulate the seats up on top of the green monster, where every seat has it’s own table top. So it’s more of a relaxing vibe up there looking down at the action. Then part of the buildings can be used as advertising, and maybe even a big (wait for it) Jumbotron out in LF. I bet they could manage to build a new retro stadium that still gives the same feel as Wrigley (being right on top of the action), all while adding about 10k seats as well.

  • paulcatanese

    Do all the things the rooftop association wants to do
    and only one thing would remain. Re-name the park “Ebbets Field West”. How can anyone agree to whats being proposed here, the place would look like one large junk yard.
    IMO the rooftop owners are looking to one thing and one thing only, their own pockets.
    And the Alderman has not changed the spots that aldermen have had for the last 50-75 years, votes, votes and votes. None of this is in the Cubs best interests.
    It’s a shame that finally an owner comes in and wants to do the right thing and is stonewalled with stupid promises
    that were made years before.
    I don’t know what will happen here but changes need to be made, and maybe the best solution would in the long run buy out the homes directly outside of Wrigley, or just flat out move the franchise and let those idiots put up all the signs they want.

  • SuzyS

    Great posts…Everyone….it is thought provoking on what the Cubs should do here. Some great ideas and thoughts were presented on this thread….Now lets see what happens.

  • Tony Spumoni

    I love the Cubs, and I love Chicago, but this is getting ridiculous.
    The rooftop owners are only hoping to be included in the future of the Chicago Cubs, just as you and I are.
    Mr. Ricketts wants to be allowed to “run his business as he pleases, like every other business owner (etc)…”
    I’ve never yet encountered a successful business which thinks it’s a good business model to ignore the wishes of the people it serves.
    I suppose the Ricketts family could move the Cubs to a wheat field somewhere outside of Omaha, where they could build whatever they want without Chicago’s burdensome zoning restrictions, etc.
    They could put in a fake scoreboard, fake ivy, a fake “neighborhood” with fake “buildings”, and then they could bus in fake Cubs fans, too.
    On the other hand, the Wrigleyville neighbors could vote Wrigley Field “dry”, &/or the City of Chicago could condemn the structure.
    Wanna play hardball?
    The Cubs want to put up big advertising signs which would ruin, or at least further degrade, the Wrigley Field experience for people both inside and outside of the park? To increase revenue? Really??
    I generally don’t pay money to be bombarded with ads. In fact, I pay money to avoid that possibility.
    It appears that the Cubs organization is moving in the direction of becoming more exclusionary, rather than striving to become more inclusive.
    Good luck with that.

  • Pingback: Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Rooftop Owners Would Like Contract Extended()