Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Cubs and the City Inching Closer to a Deal

According to a report from ABC Chicago, the negotiations between the Cubs and the City have progressed to the point where there is a blueprint in place for the renovations, but there remains one sticking point.

The rooftop club owners remain concerned about their views being blocked by advertising inside the park, including the large jumbotron that has been proposed in left field and at least one sign in right field that could block the view of at least one rooftop club.

ABC Chicago reported that Ald. Tom Tunney has removed his request for the Cubs to add a parking garage on Grace Street. According to multiple reports, the Cubs had agreed to build the structure last week in order to help elevate some of the neighborhood’s concerns over parking. The report explained that neighborhood no longer wants the parking structure built “because of congestion concerns.”

ABC Chicago also reported that due to the Cubs missing the April 1 deadline, the team has “missed some ordering deadlines for steel that’s needed for structural renovations.”

The Cubs continue to negotiate with the city and based on Tom Ricketts’ comments on Monday, the threat of the Cubs leaving Wrigley Field is no longer an option. The family wants to renovate Wrigley and win at Wrigley.

Full Report from ABC Chicago

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  • paulcatanese

    Now they remove the request for additional parking. Seems that Mr. Tunney can’t get his act together, I predict that this will continue, undecided rooftop owners and the Alderman on different pages. This keeps the Cubs in a constant state of flux. I still say move.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-Robert-Koenig/1295439291 Raymond Robert Koenig

      I second that emotion.

  • cc002600

    Thinking out loud.

    When it comes to public perception, the rooftop owners have never sunk lower. I don’t know of anyone who has any sympathy for them, or likes them, which has not always been the case. But they definitely know it. I was listening to the SCORE this AM and they said that they have reached out multiple, multiple times to have one of them appear on their show, and yet no one responds. I think that speaks volumes.

    So having said that, I wonder if that will affect their business this summer ? Will people be less inclined to spend their money there now vs. before ? I have to believe it will.

    And I have said this before. It’s cool to experience it once or twice, but after that, I think its overrated for the price. Yes, you can see the game, but its really not a great view. You are a long, long ways from the action in the infield. If you want to party and have a BBQ, then its fine, but if you want to watch the game, its not worth it. So then it becomes a real expensive BBQ.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      I don’t necessarily sympathize with them but I think the Cubs are handling it wrong by not recognizing that they chose to make them partners. Since they are partners they should be included in the discussions and if they were I imagine they’d have come to a solution everyone can live with long ago.

      • Roland Bowman

        It sounds like the Cubs signed a terrible agreement. 20 years! Now they have to deal with it. It would seem like they could buy out the contract, that seems like the best option.

        • 07GreyDigger

          I think they signed that deal when Sam Zell was trying to sell the team. I think he would have signed anything to get them off his hands.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            The current contract with the rooftops was signed in 2004. It was a 20 year contract. There are 11 years remaining. Crane Kenney and Mike Lufrano, were involved in the negotiations at the time.

          • Rational Logic

            A buy-out clause or renegotiation time-period would have been beneficial in hindsight.

            I wonder if the Rickett’s would ever consider some type of lump sump payment to the rooftop owners to cover losses for the next five seasons in order for the rooftop owners to have time to sell/convert/find a real job? Not sure if that’s financially feasible:

            In 2008, the Cubs had gross revenues of 214M, with a 10 year historic growth rate of 9.75%. If we assume that growth rate holds through 2018 and the Cubs pay out 17% of gross revenue to Rooftop Owners, the Rooftop owners will collect a total of 386M from 2014-2018. The present value of that stream of cash flows is 289M, with some general assumptions.

            The financials don’t seem too far off from making some sort of deal possible, especially considering if you deduct the gains from the signage annually, it becomes a plausible deal for the Cubs.

            That really seems like the only win-win (ironic for the Cubs, I know) here.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Absolutely. Buy them out…

      • cc002600

        I don’t disagree, but the reality of the situation is that the public perception of the rooftop owners is that of a parasite, fairly or unfairly. I’m just wondering how that will affect business this summer. It can’t be good for them, and I think they realize that.

      • DWalker

        The problem is the current ownership does NOT see them as partners. The rooftops made the mistake of demanding a role far out of proportion to what they are entitled to, and have only a few things they can bring to the table of value to the cubs. Had the rooftops recognized or cared that the cubs strongly resent the existing contract, they could have approached things differntly and gained a seat at the table. The worst negotiating move they could have made was to demand a contract extension under existing terms, something the cubs now would never agree to. As it is, the cubs have no incentive to do anything but meet the bare absolute minumum requirements of that contract and when that contract expires, I fully expect the rooftops will have no view and the cubs will have new signs.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          That is probably all true. But for now they are partners and have to be considered to get this moving forward.

      • Henry

        the Tribune company in an act of desperation made them partners. This was a mistake. similar to many of the things done to the organization. the Tribune was only interested in getting the Cubs ready for sale. they were not interested in the state of the Cubs after the sale. Ricketts is handling this correctly. They need to know they are not partners.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          This is the problem. If they share your attitude this will never get done. For better or worse, like it or not, they are partners. To deny that is like when my 3 year old insists that he’s not ready for bed as he’s falling asleep. It just isn’t true…

          • Henry

            Well they are partners through intimidation. Their only interest is in making money not the welfare of the Ball Club. They were the little kids that cried and got what they wanted because Sam Zell needed to sell the club. They give nothing and all they do is take. The city/Tunney do not ask the rooftops for additional cash for security. They do not ask the rooftops for help with parking. Partners yes. The Cub, however, have to let them know when the contract runs out the gravy train is over.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Absolutely. Just nod their heads, smile and play nice to get what we want and is best for the club. And then when the contract is up cut the cord and say good riddance.

  • 07GreyDigger

    If I were a rooftop, I’d be applying for a permit to run a hotel out of my building. Can you imagine the dollars they could still make if their views were blocked? People would pay a premium to stay across from the ballpark.

    • calicub

      Very true, but I imagine zoning restrictions and/or other tenancy protection acts (we have the Ellis Act in California) are preventing them from having already made that move. But I agree, that would be my first choice if my views were blocked.

      With that said, I highly doubt they would make up the revenue between running a hotel and simply collecting ticket prices and maintaining the bleachers.

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