Down the stretch we come!
Wrigley Field has needed a facelift for what seems like decades now, and finally, it appears that it will happen and construction can begin.
The saga began almost immediately upon final sale of the Chicago Cubs from Sam Zell/Tribune to the Ricketts family. The Ricketts group initially put up the Toyota sign, then a large LED screen in right field, and put together focus groups to gauge fan reaction to expanded advertisements within the park, including a potential Jumbotron. Despite the objections of Alderman Tom Tunney and the Wrigleyville neighbors, Wrigley Field and the surrounding area will get all the bells and whistles that were unanimously approved by both the Chicago Landmarks Commission and the Plan Commission. I had a theory that eventually Tom Tunney would cave because the pressure against him was too strong, and that ended up being the case.
If what Crain's Chicago says is true, the Cubs will allow for certain concessions before the City Council vote this week. This includes but may not be limited to:
- Lowering the right-field sign to alleviate blockage of certain rooftop views after the outfield wall is expanded;
- Agreement to a 10-year ban on new signage;
- Certain requests by Alderman Tunney regarding the new Clark Street hotel complex
The Cubs will get to expand the ballpark outwards, create more space for patrons, and avoid getting sued due to their concession to the rooftops (though Greg Hinz says that may cause a snag). Also, with their original proposal requesting all the signage anyway, they may not require many more signs. We'll await the final word after the Council vote, but this looks like it's going to happen with few hitches.
Update 4:01 PM:
It appears that the Mayor, the Alderman, and the Cubs have agreed to a few things as previously reported. As of now, the pedestrian bridge over Clark Street has been tabled "indefinitely," or "a very long time" paraphrasing Tom Tunney. The city is wondering whether the Cubs will compensate them for hanging a patio over Sheffield, though you have to counter with this...if the Cubs are already coughing up $500MM of their own money to eventually make the city tons of money, why the hell do they still need compensation? Chicago politics, indeed. You can see the story unfold here and here.
Update 5:07 PM:
And we're done! See you next session for the (hopefully) final City Council vote!
And just like that, a vote. Unanimous. Amended Wrigley Plan clears second to last public hurdle. Now the usual media scrum.
— Danny Ecker (@DannyEcker) July 23, 2013
According to the wonderful Ms. Serena Dai, the City Council will vote on this tomorrow. The session starts at 10 AM, but who knows when they'll actually get to Wrigley. Baby steps.
Update 6:01 PM:
This actually sounds reasonable from the Cubs' camp:
If #Cubs permanently nix pedestrian bridge over Clark St., they want the right to build an arch over Clark and sell advertising on it.
— Fran Spielman (@fspielman) July 23, 2013
It seems to me that an arch, which I thought was in some of the original renderings, is not exactly a safety hazard unless they build it shoddy. At least, nobody can walk across said arch and throw beer bottles and people, and it would be very difficult to climb said arch at any rate. The Cubs should be able to funnel money into their franchise however they can, and this is an innocuous way to do it in my opinion.