Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Chicago Plan Commission Approves Branding Arch, Changes to Wrigley Plan

The Chicago Pan Commission approved changes to the Wrigley Field restoration plan on Thursday and one of the tweaks includes a branding bridge over Clark Street between Patterson and Addison Streets. The Cubs inched closer to beginning the restoration project but will need approval from the City Council Zoning Committee and the full City Council on the changes before moving forward.

According to reports from the Sun-Times and Crain’s Chicago Business, the Cubs received approval to move the footprint of the park 25 feet closer to the street, which did not go over very well with the neighborhood.

The Cubs received permission on a new 58-foot branding arch that will stretch over Clark and will “allow the team to sell ads for a gateway structure while appeasing community concerns over the bridge about people dropping items into traffic.”

Mike Lufrano explained to Danny Ecker, “It’s a welcoming arch. It’s sort of going to be the demarcation of what we hope will be an exciting plaza and a great place for the community.”

Ald. Tom Tunney continued his support of the tweaks and “said his office will work with the Cubs on finding new parking options to replace several dozen street spots that will be vacated as a result of Sheffield Avenue shrinking from 33 to 23 feet wide.”

While the neighborhood voiced their displeasure with the changes to the restoration plan, the rooftop club owners declined to comment on the progress of their talks with the Cubs on Thursday.

Fran Spielman reported the Wrigleyville residents were so upset on Thursday, “they branded Mayor Rahm Emanuel the team’s most valuable player for 2013.” The report from the Sun-Times explained the total amount of land given to the Cubs “now totals 41,397 square feet on Waveland and Sheffield.” One resident said, “The mayor has proven to be the Cubs’ most valuable player for 2013 as he as trampled our rights, trampled our neighborhood – all for the good of the Cubs.”

Mike Lufrano defended Mayor Emanuel and pointed out the Ricketts family is investing $300 million in the ballpark and $500 million overall in the community. Lufrano added, “It’s really unprecedented in our industry to have a project like this entirely privately funded.”

Lufrano was asked about the progress the team is making with the rooftop club owners. Lufrano told the Sun-Times, “We’re getting very close … Stay Tuned.”

The Cubs have remained consistent in the fact they will not begin the restoration project until they receive the proper assurances from the rooftop club owners that they would not sue to protect their views. Lufrano is encouraged by the discussions with the rooftops.

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