Wrigley Field Restoration Update: City Council Approves Changes to Wrigley Plan

The Chicago City Council approved the changes to the Cubs’ plan to Restore Wrigley Field on Wednesday and both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Tom Tunney demanded the Cubs begin the project.

The Cubs received approval on the latest “tweaks” to the Wrigley Field project that included more flexibility on scheduling night games, the branding arch over Clark Street and the permission to move the footprint of the park an additional 25 feet toward Waveland and Sheffield Avenues.

After the team received the approval from the City Council, Mayor Emanuel said the Cubs need to get started on the project, “I was clear and unambiguous with the ownership about that even prior to Wednesday’s City Council actions. The city has lived up to everything they said they were going to do in a timely fashion. We’re holding up our side and I expect them and the other invested interests, meaning also the rooftops, to resolve their issues so the whole city can benefit.”

Ald. Tom Tunney added, “I would emphasize that the Cubs need to start the work as soon as possible. They need to do the renovation to be at Wrigley Field to be in Chicago and to be in Lakeview, which has been phenomenally supportive.”

Tom Ricketts has been consistent in the fact he will not start the restoration project until he receives proper assurances from the Wrigleyville Rooftop Association that they will not pursue legal action to protect their views. The Cubs have maintained they must have the revenue generated by the left field video board and the right field see-through sign in order to fund the project. The rooftop club owners have not relented in their threats to sue to this point.

According to the report in the Sun-Times, “the dispute has come down to two rooftop owners whose Sheffield views would be impaired by the right field sign.” The Cubs have “explored the possibility of reducing the team’s 17 percent share or buying the rooftops out, to no avail.”

Mike Lufrano, the Cubs Vice President and General Council, told the Sun-Times that the Cubs appreciate what the neighborhood has done and they agree with the mayor, it is time for the project to begin. Lufrano said, “We want to get started and we’re looking forward to resolving the issues that remain so we can do so quickly.”

The City Council approved the following on Wednesday:

  • The city vacated up to 25 feet of street and sidewalk on Sheffield and Waveland Avenues so the exterior walls (footprint) of Wrigley Field can be moved. The Cubs will not have to compensate the city for the additional space beyond the $3.75 million over 10 years and the $1 million pledged to the build a new park on School Street
  • The Cubs may construct an advertising-filled “branding arch” over Clark Street
  • The Cubs received approval to schedule 35 night games per season and eight additional night games, including three on Saturday night to accommodate national television. The Cubs added security and remote parking for up to 1,000 cars in exchange for the flexibility to schedule night games
  • The City Council waived the requirement the Cubs would have to have additional signs inside and outside of the park approved by the council prior to installation

The Cubs and the neighborhood still have to work out the details for the sports venue license.

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