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1_PROPOSED_MARQUEE_VIEWSince this weekend’s revelation that the Ricketts Family was now willing to foot the bill for the $300 million renovation of Wrigley Field (plus another $200 million in projects around Wrigley) on the condition that certain restrictions – tied to signage, night games, extra activities, and street fairs – are lifted, it was inevitable that a small political fight was going to break out. Specifically, you had to figure that the city of Chicago, no longer asked to assist the Cubs directly with a break on the amusement tax, was going to be on board with the plan. And you had to figure that the neighborhood, represented by Alderman Tom Tunney, would push back a little bit, at least insofar as the lifting of restrictions could impinge on their preferences.

Each entity spoke out yesterday about the Cubs’ plans, with predictable results on each side.

For the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel sounded very much on board with the Ricketts Family’s proposal.

“So, we’re at a point where there will be no taxpayer subsidies for a private entity,” Emanuel said, per the Sun-Times. That said, Wrigley is important to the neighborhood and to the city — or at least a part of the city that likes to go there – and I want to ensure that it continues that kind of important role that it plays in the North Side, which is why I’m also pleased that they’re also putting a hotel up. So, I asked all the parties involved to finish this up.”

In doing so, the Mayor suggested he would assist in getting things to where they need to be.

“We all have a stake in getting it done. It is not done until all the parts fall in place. There are other things that are necessary to do that. There are 1,200 jobs at stake in building and refurbishing Wrigley. But, I want to be clear. I said from the beginning and now it’s absolutely clear and underscored: There will be no taxpayer subsidy in the refurbishing of Wrigley. But, all the parties have a role to play to see it through to the end, and I intend to help do that.”

Naturally, he made certain to emphasize the feather in his cap that this new deal would represent.

“When I first started this discussion, the Cubs wanted 200 million in taxpayer dollars,” Emanuel said. “I said, ‘No.’ Then, they said we’d like 150 million taxpayer dollars and I said, ‘No.’ Then, they asked if they could have 100 million dollars in taxpayer subsidies, and I said ‘No.’ Then, they asked about 55 million dollars in taxpayer subsidies. I said ‘No.’ The good news is after 15 months, they’ve heard the word, ‘No.'”

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Emanuel made certain to emphasize throughout his remarks that there would be no “taxpayer subsidy” for the renovation, and was clearly applauding himself in the process. Thus, you can imagine why he’ll be strongly pushing for the Ricketts’ self-funding plan to take hold and go forward.

Does that mean he’ll push Tunney on the other side of the aisle? Probably some, though he wasn’t interested in saying so publicly at this point.

Tunney, for his part, isn’t strictly opposed to the Ricketts Family’s plan, but he wants to make sure his constituency is considered in the process. Yesterday, he released a statement indicating his priorities in these discussions, which were published on the Lakeview Patch site:

  • A 10-year extension of the Neighborhood Protection ordinance that would include a limit on night games and concerts held annually at Wrigley Field.
  • A dedicated police detail unit for all Wrigley Field events, especially post game coverage.
  • An improved streetscape—lighting, sidewalks, traffic signals, identifiers and landscaping—on Clark Street to enhance commercial activity and on Sheffield Avenue to preserve the residential district.
  • A commitment to restore the CTA Sheridan Red Line El Station.
  • A limit on street closures of Sheffield or Waveland Avenues for any Cubs Street Festivals.
  • An updated planned development for the proposed Triangle building and plaza on Clark Street north of Addison. This development should include space for public and community events like farmer’s markets and ice skating.
  • A long-term agreement between the Chicago Cubs and its rooftop partners concerning advertising inside and outside of Wrigley Field that has the approval of the Landmarks Commission, the City and our community.

Obviously that last one is the biggy, as far as the Cubs are concerned. The rooftops, with which the Cubs do currently have a contractual revenue sharing agreement, want to make sure that their views aren’t obstructed by new signage (or, presumably, if those views are obstructed, that they are compensated). Fair or not, it’s understandable that it’s their position, and the Cubs will probably try their best to work out a collaborative solution. I’m sure those discussions are already being had.

The first one is likely almost as big, as the Cubs clearly want to be able to increase their night games (tricky in a residential area), and their non-Cub events like concerts (again, tricky in a residential area … though, isn’t being able to open your window and hear a concert, like, a good thing?).

The other items appear to be things that could be helped by some city involvement and/or are things that the Cubs, themselves, might very well want, too.

  • Mike

    I believe that there is a case working its way through the courts regarding baseballs blackout rules. The exemption is one of the defenses that are being challenged. I apologize that I do not have the docket

  • Asad

    Look, As a cub fan, for all you people against the cubs moving too the Suburbs and complaining about how they would lose their fanbase, Goto Green Bay and Lambeau and tell me they have zero people supporting that football team…Now i know its a old historic stadium but does anyone really think a small city of 100k alone supports them? No way. Most of their fans live 100 plus miles away and drive hours too lambeau too see them play. So please dont say the Cubs will lose their fans. The City and Politicans can stick it. Ricketts needs to move too the Burbs or at the very least use it as leverage. Dont do what the bears did lol.

    • Robert

      The Packers play 8 home games a year. They also used to play in Milwaukee once a year so southern Wisconsin felt a connection to the Packers. The Packers are Wisconsins team. Completely irrelevant to the conversation.

      • Asad

        Yeah and just like that, if the cubs played in Wrigley for all these years and ended up moving too the suburbs, people would still feel a connection too them otherwise they wouldn’t have been real fans too begin with.

        • Robert

          I agree the amount of Cub fans wouldn’t change much but the amount of Cubs fans that go to games would. I am 28 and have had season tickets for 10 years. The subset of 20’s to 30’s who go to Wrigley to have a good time has been growing in that time. The Cubs make more of that type of fan than anyone else. The culture of Wrigley is now basically a giant bar especially night games. They do not care about baseball as much as diehards. They care about fun. Its not fun when you have to drive home drunk. Lakeview is a yuppy neighborhood who embraces this culture. Schaumburg would not.

    • Crazyhorse

      Do you really think that by snapping fingers the Cubs can move. That would be like saying well when the Cubs move the White Sox will move into Wrigley Field. its not a possibility . Do you actually think the State would fund that project, NO, if the Cubs were serious in moving than they would have to find a host city in a different State. and become a modern day expansion team called the the Cubs in name only.

      • Asad

        I mean if they can fund these wrigley renovations themselves which would cost anywhere from 300-500 million from what I’ve heard then there is a good chance they could fund the construction of a new stadium. I love wrigley no doubt, but you cant keep pouring millions upon millions into a sinking ship. Eventually its gonna happen. There is several locations where they can move, there is Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Waukegan, etc…All of whom would give atleast some incentives too the cubs for building there.

        • Crazyhorse

          Chicago is the only city in the state that can help the Cubs. every other city / town would have to approval from the Capital and its is not getting funding – THE democratic Machine would kill any bill that reached Springfield.

          • Asad

            It can. Doesn’t mean it will. If Im building and financing my own stadium, with my own dollars and not the peoples money, I doubt i would have too ask the people in springfield but even if so id much rather take my chances there than with the city of Chicago with has never ever helped me.

        • Pat

          None of those towns has a site with the infrastructure to handle the additional traffic, none of them have sufficient public transportation access. Maybe Waukegan would want the headache, but I doubt it.

          • Asad

            Arlington Park…You have a couple of Highways(90 and the 355/53), You have the Metra Northwest line(Which also goes too Chicago and connects indirectly to Red, Blue, and Brown line cta stations) by way of free transfers etc…I think its there.

            • Asad

              The fact you are missing is, that I’d guess 50% of the season ticket fanbase (I am a season ticket holder) are north siders who take public transport to games 15-25 times a year (Like I do). If they moved to a far out burb like Arlington Heights, folks like me would NOT go to nearly as many games, and there are more of us o a regular basis than there are folks coming in from burbs / out of town. Cubs are the ONLY team in MLB with a season ticket waiting list, and one of only 3 or 4 that offers zero financial incentive to their season ticket holder base. Move to the burbs, list goes away, the cache of going to a game disapears, and you are just another team like the Royals, suburban park that attracts very few people.

              And seriously, how on earth does themetra connect “indirectly” ( whatever on earth that means) to the Brown line? the red line? Someone in, say, Lincoln Park is going to tame a bus to the train, to take that to another train, to go to a game in the burbs? Leave at 430 for a 705 start? No, never going to happen. Move where the cubs play out of the city, attendance drops precipitously.

              • Darian

                Er, sorry, previous message was me, not Asad. Oops.

            • Pat

              Euclid Ave on the way to Arlington Park cuts down to one lane in each direction with a 25 mph speed limit. 53 would be a disaster if you tried to feed an extra 30,000 vehicles through that part of it.

  • Indy57

    Chicago Tribune and Democrat

    February 28, 2030

    Today the City of Chicago rescinded the Landmark status of the old Wrigley Field. Since the Chicago Cubs Baseball team moved to the western suburbs, the old stadium was not able to produce enough revenue for the many ventures attempted there. In 2020, “The Chicago Baseball Museum” that took over the space the first year after the Cubs departed, closed its doors after revenue fell well short of covering the $3.5 million in estimated annual expenses for upkeep.

    In 2023, the Chicago City Council approved the now infamous “Shoppes at Wrigley” concept. It was hoped that the 3 bars and 2 restaurants, sports clothing boutique and skating rink would bring tourists back to the Lakeview neighborhood in an attempt to resurrect business in and around the area. After $35 million in State and City subsidies ran out, the “Shoppes at Wrigley were closed in 2026.

    Since that time, Wrigley has been boarded up and has been a frequent target of vandals. Crime in the area has risen 21% in the last 3 years alone. Property values in an around the immediate neighborhood have fallen anywhere from an additional 10% to 15% during that time on top of the 30% to 40% immediately after the Cubs headed to the New Wrigley Field in Naperville.

    Since the Cubs departed and took with them the crowds that filled local bars and restaurants, the economic viability of the area has slumped badly. In the second year after the Cubs left, nearly 20% of the local businesses were unable to sustain their revenues and were forced to close or sell out to developers. Today, only Murphy’s Bleachers remains in business catering to employees at the headquarters of 44th Ward Alderman Rod Blagojevich, now housed in one of the old apartment buildings on Sheffield across from the old stadium.

    Now that the Landmark status is rescinded, the City of Chicago will entertain bids to demolish the grand old park. It is hoped that the demolition will be completed by July of 2031. The City is also in discussions with several developers in order to bid on plans for the site and revitalization of the neighborhood. The goal is to have the property fully developed by 2035, however several current city ordinances will have to be overcome in order to make that deadline.

    The seventy-five year old Former Mayor Tom Tunney, now residing in San Francisco, said when reached, “This didn’t have to be. It was simply a matter of the wealthy Ricketts family attempting to profit off of the local community. The Ricketts are to blame for this.”

    Since leaving the Lakeview neighborhood, the Cubs have averaged nearly 4.2 million in attendance per year in the New Wrigley Field. When reached by phone yesterday, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, still basking in the wake of the Cubs World Series Championship (their sixth in the last fifteen years) replied with, “No comment.”

    • Craig

      You are so right. Love it

    • Crazyhorse

      Or the Headline could read

      Today the Cubs let go Theo Epstein his back to back to back 100 plus loss season drain the Cubs into……….

    • Robert

      Says the person from Indiana.

    • Darian

      You meant 4.2 K people per game, right? Seriously, no one is going to go to games in Schaumburg or wherever.

    • Rmoody100

      Not as a criticism, but merely a question. Even if they moved to Schaumburg, doesn’t them still being in Cook County subject them to the highest sales taxes and such in the country?

  • Die hard

    He stole my farmers mkt idea

  • Sully

    Again, Tunney get out of the Ricketts way. Everyone who lives near Wrigley Field new it was there already. Their property values are as high as they are because of Wrigley. Let them run their business. Plus, they’re gonna make the neighborhood even that much better. Geeezzz.

    • Crazyhorse

      WOW – lets use your logic when Ricketts bought the Cubs he knew a neighborhood was less then 500 feet from its backdoor so why is he acting dumb.

  • Kevin

    Simply put, lift all the crazy restrictions the Cubs have to deal with and they will follow through with the planned renovations. If the city falls short lifting these restrictions the Cubs move forward and execute “PLAN B” Remember, you don’t become wealthy making dumb decisions and the Rickett’s family is focused on maximizing their earnings potential. In Chicago, GOV’T is a 4 letter word.

  • http://www.sportsdanny.com Dan

    No matter what Tunney and the rooftop owners think and believe will happen, the Cubs will be doing this renovation with or without their support. Once they announced a willingness to pay for it on their own, the family knew that if for some reason the rooftop owners and Alderman Tunney pushed back, they hold the cards because the city isn’t being asked to fit the bill. All Rickets has to do is say, “We asked for money from the city and they said No” so “we said we’d do it ourselves as a family if they relaxed some of our restrictions as a private business and the city said yes but the rooftops said No”. As a result, “We are moving to (Insert suburb city name here) as they are going to allow us to build a stadium and we can have as many night games as we want, we’ll have our jumbo-tron and the rooftop owners will keep their views”. The family hasn’t played that card yet but if the rooftop owners keep pushing, they will

  • cubzforlife

    As a guy who supported Rahm, rang doorbells for him and lived across the street from him I lost all respect for this guy. (I was going to say douche). I can only hope Ricketts was made aware of his comments in advance. If not and I was Ricketts I would put on my big boy pants and go to battle on my needs as a major league owner. Might of just been some theatrics.

  • Carne Harris

    The community seems to be closest to the majority of the fanbase as far as not wanting more signage or increased night games. Hope they get their way but they probably won’t. My nightmare is that we’re gonna be named something like Eagle Food Stadium when the dust settles.

  • Kevin

    Is the amusement tax levied only in Cook County? I read somewhere that the City of Chicago gets 9% and Cook County gets the other 3%.

  • DarthHater

    Anybody heard anything about rumors of a possible Cubs-Indians trade involving Soriano?

    • Mike

      I haven’t heard anything. But, if I were to venture a guess, these are the teams I would think might want Soriano (in order): Rays, Orioles, Rangers, Tigers, Indians, Yankees

      • mudge

        & where do the Cubs fit in to the order of the list?

    • DarthHater

      Assman, where are you? ;-)

  • Josh

    Where did you hear the cubs Indians rumor?

  • Jason

    Just wondering how the sox got public funding to build that cookie cutter ballpark.

    • Caryatid62

      Different mayor, different city council, different governor, different economic climate.

  • kuvihorken

    Brett, you live in Columbus, right? Want to play MLB The Show 10 with me????????

    • Rmoody100

      I’m pretty sure you can play online. We should have a BN tournament with brackets and all.

  • mudge

    Since Brett mentioned the Wardrobe, thought I’d mention that C.S. Lewis’ grandfather’s hand-made wardrobe which Lewis took as a model for his book, along with Lewis’ writing desk, Tolkien’s writing desk he wrote The Hobbit on, and many other items and a library from seven writers (Dorothy Sayers, George MacDonald, GK Chesterton, Owen Barfield and I’m forgetting one and they forgot Eleanor Farjeon who should also be included), are ensconsed at the Marion C. Wade Center, a wonderful small museum in Wheaton, IL near the college, well worth a visit for them as love the books.

  • 5412

    Hi,

    What a crock. This is a perfect example of what happens when corrupt politiicans get involved in dealing with a private business. Why did Wrigley get hit with landmark status? Simple – Tunney and other alderman were paid off to protect the interest of he rooftop businesses that stole the product. Now they get a cut.

    Rahm is a dangerous man who only knows how to reward his followers and punish his ememies. Compromise, work together, forget it!

    The irony is this The 12+% amusement taxes were passed to pay off the bonds for the other stadiums in town which are paid for by the taxpayers. Why should our Cub tickets be taxed, we are not interested in supporting Reinsdorf, Inc.?

    Much like the toll roads in my generation this will be the same thing. They made them toll roads and the purpose of the tolls was to pay off the bonds used to raise the money to build them Well the bonds were paid off years ago, but the tolls remain.

    So Cub fans support all the other teams in the city with paying a tax on our tickets also. Yet we get nothing, nada in return. This is what happens when one political party runs things and has no fear of ever, every being thrown out of office.

    regards,
    5412

  • Kevin

    Is it legal to tax the Cubs if they have no shot at ever using the funds collected ?

  • Curt

    who do these Chicago politicians think they are I said no subsists not for the cubs anyways , whitesox that’s ok, bulls that’s ok, cubs I don’t think so, anyways then Tunney still admits to limit things he needs to get bent comeon if cant be a private entity, well they can bd a private entity as long as they do what the city and the neighborhood wants them too, I really wish there were an option to leave then watch Emmanuel and Tunney jump some hoops to keep them here. it’s just feels slimy dealing with those guys.

  • The Brian Roberts Trade

    Private company with a private ballpark wanting to renovate with private dollars. No way in hell Rahm doesn’t make this happen. He benefits just as much as the Cubs.

  • RoughRider

    Did Mayor Rahm Emanuel injure his shoulder while simultaneously patting himself on the back and giving the one finger salute to the Cubs? Gracious is not an adjective that would be used to descibe him. To me he sounds like a complete ass and the worst kind of politician. Nothing new to Cook County.

  • ETS

    “So, we’re at a point where there will be no taxpayer subsidies for a private entity,” Emanuel

    Granted it could sound better in context, but this irritates me.

    1) It’s not a true private entity if you are going to have crazy restrictions.
    2) It’s not like Rahm Emmanuel doesn’t have a history of liking to spend public funds.

    [/rant]

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