Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Rooftop Owners File Lawsuit

Wrigley-71014According to multiple reports and as expected, eight members of the Wrigleyville Rooftop Association filed a lawsuit Thursday against the City of Chicago and the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to overturn the city’s approval of the team’s plan to expand, restore and renovate Wrigley Field. The lawsuit does not include the Chicago Cubs.

Crain’s Chicago Business reported the suit states “the city broke its own rules in approving the plan and effectively deprived them of the property rights without due process.” The eight club owners, which include about half of the rooftops “most affected by the proposed new signs”, asked a “judge to reverse the approval, an action that, if granted, almost certainly would bring the project to a screeching halt.”

Danny Ecker reported Thursday afternoon the Cubs are “still planning to move forward with renovation as of now, but if rooftops get injunction, things could come to a halt.” The negotiations between the Cubs and rooftops are ongoing.

Thomas Moore of Anderson & Moore PC filed the lawsuit that states the establishments “have suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable harm from the planned and imminent development, construction and operation of the Jumbotron, outfield signs and additional bleacher seats.”

According to the Tribune, “the plaintiffs allege that the [Landmarks] decision violates a 2004 contract the rooftop club owners signed with the Cubs that guaranteed their views into the ballpark in exchange for 17 percent of the clubs’ annual revenues.”

PrintCrain’s Chicago Business reported that the Cubs told the rooftop owners after receiving Landmarks Commission approval “they could either sell their businesses to the Cubs at a fraction of both cost and fair market value or have their businesses destroyed when the Cubs block their views.”

Representatives of the Cubs, the City and the Rooftop Club owners did not make public comments Thursday afternoon.

Cubs Making Changes to Wrigley Plan?

According to a report from the Tribune’s Blair Kamin, the Cubs are making additional changes to the Wrigley Field plan that was unanimously approved last month at the request of the Landmarks Commission.

The Cubs are “pressing” for the five additional outfield signs in addition to the video board in left field and the see-through sign in right field. The five additional signs (each would be a maximum of 650 square feet) would further block the views of the rooftops, even with the approved spacing in between each sign. Blair Kamin reported the fine print on the Cubs’ plans that he read “shows they could be conventional, opaque billboards, not see-through at all.”

Kamin’s report did not indicate what changes the Cubs have been asked to make to the approved plan.

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  • BillyFinT

    More distractions for winning a ballgame, good job…

    Owners statement via lawyer as quoted here seems like they are going an approach of Win it All and no fallback. Well, of course, unless more money be offered to make peace. LOL

    • Denver Mike

      Such is the world we live in, what else did you expect (from either side)?

      • BillyFinT

        Stop bickering and sign a new deal? Not making a fool of oneself in public? Step back and look at the reality?

        • Denver Mike

          I’m not saying it’s right or wrong but as I said, such is the world we live in, none of those were ever going to happen. Anyone could have seen this coming.

  • Ray Koenig

    No surprise.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Ho hum. What else is news?

    It sure seems like life would be sooooooo much better with a new, modern
    stadium with a roof. Today the wind was blowing in at about 1,000,000 miles per hour. The good news: it held the Brewers down to six runs against Edwin Jackson.

    The bad news: Edwin Jackson didn’t blow away, and he’ll start again in six days.

  • BosephHeyden

    This is what happens when you elect to stay at Wrigley. What I don’t get is why the rooftop visitors would actually care. I’ve been invited to rooftop gatherings twice, and neither time was the game even close to the focus of the experience: it was all a bunch of rich yuppies trying to impress other rich yuppies and talk about everything other than the game. I’m sure if they put the large billboards right on top of the rooftops and completely blocked any view, they wouldn’t even notice so long as they were still kind of outdoors and could hear the crowd.

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  • Jeffrey Rogers

    Rickets should set up telescopes in the stadium and charge people to look into the rooftop owners windows.

  • calicub

    let the games begin.

  • bpot92

    Cubs should ask for an injunction to stop all ticket sales while the lawsuit is still being decided. Wont ever happen even if they asked but its kind of hypocritical of the rooftops to sue and collect money at the same time.

    • calicub

      Not saying I support the rooftops, but by that logic, then the Cubs are hypocritical for blocking the rooftop’s views and still collecting 17% of Rooftop profits.

      The fact of the matter is, there is a very real contract involved and this is the only way for either party to finally vindicate their rights.

      • Tony_H

        Yes and the contract favors the Cubs, that is why they are fighting the decision by the Landmark committee for making the ruling.

      • bpot92

        But without the Cubs the rooftop owners have nice building that holds very little value. I agree that the contract is a contract but the cubs could ask for 50% and should have asked for higher since without the cubs the rooftops make nothing. The cubs only want to put up signs to increase the value of the club and the quality of the team which would only increase the value of each ticket and rooftop building itself. Without seeing all the signs and things they want to do in real life (not just pictures) we wont know how much they would be blocked…

    • Tony_H

      I hope the Cubs win and this all gets done over the next few off-seasons. That they offer near nothing (sounds like they are doing this) to buy each rooftop and if they say no, then don’t offer anything again until after the contract with the rooftops runs out and is not renewed. Then block the views completely!

      • BigJonLilJon

        While I agree with what your saying, The roof toppers aren’t suing the Cubs, there suing the Landmark Commission and the city of Chicago. Because the Cubs have the law on there side due to contract language. Well done!!

        • Tony_H

          See my reply to Calicubs.

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    Don’t side with the rooftop owners at all, but I sure as hell don’t want to see a million billboards at Wrigley. It’s too bad the owners couldn’t reach a compromise, the rooftop seating makes the field so unique.

    • paulcatanese

      Don’t like the rooftops, and sure do not like the billboards, both cheapen what is there as a Landmark.
      One only has to look at Yankee Stadium to see a junkyard for an outfield enclosure.

  • JasonPen

    Here’s an idea: Build your buildings taller and stop complaining.

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  • Chunk Basker

    Only fair that the Cubs give back everything they collected from the rooftops business owners. Seeing how they’re basically ignored the contract anyhow. Collecting cash from someone and ignoring your written agreement is pretty lame.
    That and I agree, Billboards cheapen the experience.

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