Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Full Deal with the City and Neighborhood Not Expected by Monday

According to a report from DNAinfo.com Chicago, a full package deal with the city and the neighborhood will not be coming by the Cubs-imposed Monday deadline. The Cubs have been pushing to have a comprehensive deal with the city wrapped up by Opening Day (April 1) in order to begin the first phase of the restoration project in October.

Serena Dai reported the Cubs are now saying they do not need the full agreement by April 1 in order to begin parts of the renovation, such as rehabbing the clubhouse after the season. Dai pointed out that just because the Cubs do not need a full deal in place, it does not mean they will move forward without having an agreement.

According to the report, the Cubs want answers to the key issues by the beginning of April. The team wants the flexibility necessary to run their business. There are several key issues that must be resolved.

The Cubs are reportedly looking to add a 6,000 square foot jumbotron in either left or right field that could block rooftop views and that could be one of the sticking points … the historic scoreboard in centerfield is around 4,500 square feet.

Mayor Emanuel addressed the situation in a separate news conference on Thursday and said, “there’s enough wins for everybody to declare a victory and have enough to go forward.”

Full Report from DNAinfo.com Chicago

David Kaplan reported late Thursday night that the Ricketts family is committed to working out a deal with the city and the neighborhood, but Kaplan’s sources connected to City Hall told him there is concern that if a deal is not reached by Monday’s deadline it could send “the entire process into chaos.”

Kaplan published excerpts from letters from the Lakeview Citizens Council addressed to Mayor Emanuel and Ald. Tunney. The community would like for the Cubs to pay $75,000 per event “for inconveniences experienced by residents and businesses of Lakeview.”

_____________________________________________________________

March 13, 2013
The Honorable Rahm Emanuel
Mayor
City of Chicago
121 North LaSalle Street, 5th Floor
Chicago IL 60602
VIA EMAIL

Mayor.Emanuel@cityofchicago.org
Re: Proposed Wrigley Expansion

Dear Mayor Emanuel,

Game and Event Concerns

In regards to night games and concerts at Wrigley Field, we continue to advocate for limiting the increase in night games to a thirty three game total and four concerts as outlined in our recommendation to Alderman Tunney in April 2012.

This proposed increase provides the Cubs more flexibility in scheduling night games with national networks and permits adding two additional concerts in lieu of two night baseball games.

In regards to adding Friday 3:05 starts and Saturday night games, we are very concerned about the effects on businesses throughout Lake View. Many restaurants and entertainment venues in Lake View are not part of the Wrigley Field economic engine. Changes to Friday and Saturday games will not only create a burden on residents with the increased traffic and parking during rush hour, but also harm these businesses that will lose patrons avoiding the area during prime weekend hours. As many of these owners are aware, weekends drive an overwhelming majority of sales. Even businesses that benefit from the economic engine could suffer if sales decrease due to the time changes. These businesses generate a substantial portion of sales during the baseball season, allowing many to operate year-round. Negative effects will force some of these businesses to shutter and could turn Wrigleyville into a desolate area with closed businesses during the offseason. The rush hour conflict and impact on local business were two of the reasons the ban on Friday 3:05 and Saturday evening games was implemented.

______________________________________________________________

The Honorable Tom Tunney
Alderman, 44th Ward
City of Chicago
1057 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657

Re: Proposed LVCC Positions and Recommendations of Record Regarding Night Events/Concerts at Wrigley Field

Dear Alderman Tunney:

Based on the definition of “events” under Chicago Municipal Code Section 4-156-430(a) (“athletic contests at night and on weekday afternoons; restrictions”), “night events” are defined in this letter as
events which accommodate more than fifteen thousand (15,000) patrons at Wrigley Field and which take place between the hours of 8:00 p.m.– 8:00 a.m. during the Major League Baseball season and are not
Major League Baseball games. LVCC recommends events under fifteen thousand (15,000) patrons or outside the MLB season no longer qualify as night events. The maximum number of night games which are currently authorized under the Wrigley Field Neighborhood Protection Plan is thirty (30) night games.

Each year, the Cubs initially schedule approximately twenty-seven (27) night games. They set aside up to three (3) night games each season to allow for MLB or a national television network to reschedule a day game to a night game, so there are not more than thirty (30) total night games. LVCC recommends flexibility with respect to the Cubs being allowed to initially schedule thirty (30) night games total, with the potential to allow MLB or a national television network to reschedule up to three (3) day games as night games for up to a total of thirty three (33) night games each season.

LVCC recommends the Cubs have four (4) night events at Wrigley Field without restriction each year (i.e., there is no restriction as to the day of week the event is held). If the Cubs hold more than four (4) night events, not to exceed a total of six (6) night events, the Cubs will be required to eliminate a night game from the current or next year’s schedule, depending on the time of the baseball season, for each additional night event beyond the four (4) allotted night events.

A financial contribution from the Cubs to the Lakeview Community will be made to offset any inconveniences experienced by residents and businesses of Lakeview. The Cubs shall make a financial contribution
for each of the four (4) additional night events using the following formula: a minimum of seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000.00) per event with a maximum of two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000.00) per season.

These funds are to be spent on identified community projects that will be determined on an annual basis upon mutual agreement of LVCC and the Cubs. The goal is to identify a series of projects that can be completed within the calendar year.

_______________________________________________________________

Link to letters

Kaplan spoke with Rosemont Mayor, Brad Stephens, on Thursday evening. Mr. Stephens told Kaplan that if the City and the Cubs are not able to reach a deal by Monday, he would like to meet with Tom Ricketts as soon as Tuesday morning.

Full Report from David Kaplan

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  • BosephHeyden

    They need to just build a new stadium in the suburbs already. The place is still a dump: it’ll just be a renovated dump. Build a new stadium, have a few games at Wrigley every year as a novelty, and focus on the business of winning. (Spoiler alert: they won’t, because Ricketts is a Cubs fan in the sense all those business men that show up to games to show their clients a fun time are Cubs fans).

  • Tarzan Joe

    i’m done with this story. move to wherever; of course it would force the owners to build a winner ASAP as the suburbs won’t have the neighborhood effect and allow the only team ever to lose 100 games, but draw 2.8M, but for the fans; we get winning teams & efforts(not losing on purpose like now) and a 3% mark-up entertainment tax instead of 12%. looks like a fan winner……….and don’t cubs fans deserve a winner.

  • Cory

    “The Honorable Tom Tunney”… What a formality

  • Henry

    Even though it has not been said I believe the reason the Ricketts do not want to start upgrading as the letters suggest is because they do not want to sink any more money into Wrigley if they are going to build a new stadium. A new stadium could be closer than many believe. Strange things happen. There are many out there who believe Ricketts would never leave Wrigley. However, as many have stated he is a business man. He is in this to win from a business standpoint as well as from a baseball standpoint. I believe he had every intention to stay in Wrigley when he bought the Cubs. He was also afraid of alienating the fan base. However after this latest round with the city and its politicians he is seeing that the fan base is not as attached to Wrigley as he thought it was. More could be changing on the north side! A new stadium could be in our future!

    • paulcatanese

      Agree Henry, politics play a big role in Chicago and will continue to do so in the future.
      As far as the fan base, I recall at eight years old, getting on a streetcar from the far south side(as far south one can be) and going to Wrigley to watch the Cubs. That continued well into the early sixties ( driving of course) at least four times a month. If I still lived in Chicago I would not hesitate to travel
      to any location to see the Cubs.
      I am sure the majority of fans feel the same way.
      Being on the West Coast I still manage to see all of the games that are televised.
      Personally I believe it would be a great business decision for Mr. Ricketts to move away and bring a new stadium to the area.
      Hopefully he can see that in his future as the owner, take his loss and move. He has got to realize that if he gives in to these people it will not stop, only get worse year after year.
      The only thing that would change things would be a different political party in Chicago, and everyone knows how far fetched that is.
      Really believe that part of the problem were the remarks and affiliation of Mr. Ricketts Sr. with the opposite party. Should have no bearing, but,,,
      Chicago politics are what they are.
      The more I read about the situation surrounding the ballpark I say move, but then its not my money, easy for me to say what they should do.

  • CubsFan

    They need close the streets around Wrigley Field, leave the bleachers/Ivy and level it and start over. I sat in the upper deck and old people can barely climb the stairs to their seats. Build a new stadium without obstructed views. That neighborhood would be nothing without the Cubs.