Emanuel says Cubs and city close on Wrigley rehab deal

There will be some changes in Wrigley Field the next time you see it.

There may be a lot more changes in store as Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he’s in the “final stages” of negotiating a deal with the team to pave the way for the renovation of Wrigley Field.

The mayor did make one stipulation. The Cubs would need to invest any assisted money in Wrigley itself rather than projects such as the long rumored triangle building

“Whatever we do to enhance the value of Wrigley Field, it will be to make sure the private owners enhance the value at Wrigley Field,” the mayor said at an unrelated event on the Far South Side.

“I will not put my money in their field so they can take their money and invest around the field and get greater economic value.”

The Cubs did not have any response to the Mayor’s demands according to the report.

Tom Ricketts has taken the stance that the city let the Cubs use $200 million dollars worth of the city amusement tax dollars towards other projects other than the stadium alone. It doesn’t sound like that is going to fly with city hall.

However, it does sound like Emanuel is up for fixing what actually needs to get fixed at Wrigley. Even if that happens, the city may have to relax some of the ballpark’s landmark status.

 The City Council landmarked “historic elements” of Wrigley in 2004 as part of an agreement that paved the way for 12 more night games. The designation covered the exterior and marquee sign at Clark and Addison, the quaint center field scoreboard and ivy-covered brick walls and the uninterrupted sweep of the bleachers and grandstand.

During the 2008 negotiations over the Tribune Co.’s failed plan to have the state acquire and renovate Wrigley, Cubs executive Crane Kenney argued that, “If you’re going to restore and maintain the facility, you’re going to have to take parts of it down and rebuild it, just like we rebuilt the bleachers two years ago. Landmarking authorization doesn’t let you do that.”

As far as changes you can see now, the new right field Budweiser Patio and 75-foot LED board will be ready come opening day.

"The Noodle" structure has also returned and will be outside the new “Cubs Store” at Clark and Addison.








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  • No public money for stadiums. Ever. Whatever the terms, this will be a raw deal for the city.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Ideally you'd like that to be the case, but so many teams get it that the Cubs would lose a competitive advantage. And we did have to pay for the White Sox stadium a while back. Guess it's the northsiders turn.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Two wrongs decidedly do not make a right. That was a bald faced money grab by my last favorite owner in pro baseball, but I don't support 'avenging' Cubs fans by grabbing some pork for ourselves. This would just be another boon to another multi-billion dollar private entity. It shouldn't happen.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I'm not saying it makes it right but it's just the way things work. It does happen. So if you let other teams get money while you say, "no thanks", then you're giving up that competitive advantage

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    In reply to Eddie:

    I agree 100%. The owners of these teams are rich, they charge outrageous prices for tickets, parking, food, and concessions (I know not all teams own parking). Most have no concept of how to run a sucessfull, money making sports team. They might have made money in other industries, enabling them to buy a team, but once in charge, the lose their minds and stop thinking clearly. They hand out contracts like politicians hand out jobs to donors. When they demand that taxpayers who don't buy tickets chip in, that really gets me. (I know not all of that applies in the Cubs situation).

    I'm all for a Congressional Amendment that says sports teams cannot have public funding for any reason. If they can't threaten to move to another city that would pay for a new stadium, it would remove all negotiating power teams have to blackmail their current city. Look at the White Sox. Their situation ended up with two horrible stadiums built on taxpayers money - New Comiskey and the Tampa whatever it's called.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    If they make it uniform for everyone, I'm all for that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Right, screw that Cubs should def get what the Sox got, they bring in more money too.

  • I love how the city amusement tax is considered "public" money. Why shouldn't it be used to upgrade the facilities that host these amusing events? The city take from sales of Cubs tickets alone is over $100mm per year.

  • Oops - better correct that typo - $10mm per year.

  • I like how the Mayor says “I will not put MY money in their field so they can take their money and invest around the field and get greater economic value.” I didnt know he was shelling out cash from his own pocket? How nice of him....

  • All in all, I am ok with this plan. I agree with the Mayor that the money should only go into the stadium. Wrigley does make Chicago a lot of money and is a tourist attraction, so using that tax to renovate it makes a lot of sense to me.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Agreed I just think it's funny how he says it's his money

  • The funny part is that he probably wasn't mis-speaking.

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    I'm so glad I don't live in the People's Republic of Illinois any longer, and while I love the Cubs, you couldn't pay me enough money to live in Cook County.

    Public financing of stadiums is corporate welfare. The Cubs and Wrigley Field are the private property of the Ricketts family, and therefore, they should pay for whatever they wish to be done to the property. At the same time, because it is their property, they shouldn't be hampered by a bunch of nosy bureaucrats and union hacks looking for bribes and kickbacks. They have a right to do whatever they wish with their property as long as what they are doing is not fiscally or physically harm their neighbors.

    I don't care about it being just the way it is, because it's wrong any way you look at it. Ricketts probably wouldn't be looking for public financing if it wasn't for the road blocks being thrown in his path, and those roadblocks were put there to make it impossible for anyone to do anything without the governments permission, which of course means bribes and kickbacks.

    There is also a greater question here. How is all this going to be paid for. The City of Chicago is broke, and so is the state of Illinois. So that means that any promises made by the mayor and his lackeys in that house of whores in Springfield are ultimately going to be paid for by the nation as a whole, and it's flat broke too, or is the Federal Reserve going to simply print the money like it's doing now and borrow whatever it doesn't cover from China?

    You all in Chicago and in Illinois, just as with the rest of the nation, need to take a look around you. There is a reason we are in the shape we are in, and it's because we keep spending money we don't have. Sooner of later, it's going to stop. The only question is how.

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