Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Negotiations Break Down Between Cubs and Rooftops

The first part of the week has not gone the Cubs way. After the news surfaced the Cubs lost out on their off-season target to the Yankees, the Sun-Times reported the talks between the Cubs and the rooftop club owners broke off on Tuesday and the dispute will likely be settled in court.

The Cubs and the Wrigleyville Rooftop Association were thought to be nearing an agreement that would allow the Cubs to move forward with the Wrigley Field Restoration project. Tom and Laura Ricketts and Crane Kenney indicated during the Cubs Convention the two sides were close to a deal that would resolve the issues and keep the decision out of the courts hands.

The rooftop club owners were not happy with the remarks made by the Ricketts family and Crane Kenney which led to Tuesday’s meeting not going well for either side. According to the Sun-Times, after a “stormy negotiating session” on Tuesday the rooftop club owners “filed a defamation of character lawsuit against a stadium financing consult” and named the Cubs as “respondents in the discovery.”

According to the report, the Cubs viewed the legal action “as a shot across the bow that signals the rooftop owners’ intention to take further legal action to block two massive outfield signs needed to bankroll the project.”

The main holdup is two rooftop club owners on Sheffield Avenue whose “views will be impaired by the right field sign.” According to the report, the Cubs “explored the possibility of reducing the team’s 17 percent share of annual rooftop revenues or buying them out.”

One proposal that was made involved moving the see-through sign in right field on top of one of the rooftop buildings, but that was shot down because the Cubs would not be able to maximize the value of the advertising sign with it not being in Wrigley Field.

According to the report, “the rooftop owners demanded the massive video scoreboard planned for left field also be moved to the top of a rooftop building.”

Cubs’ spokesman, Julian Green, issued the following statement: “We have worked hard to reach a resolution with our rooftop partners which would have helped preserve their views, including reducing the number, size and location of signs. Unfortunately, they opted yesterday to reject the proposal and file this lawsuit. Since our approvals last year, we have been anxious to get the Wrigley Field renovation started. Yesterday’s action will certainly force additional delays to our project.”

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