Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Likely Feeling Some Heat, Alderman Tunney Responds (UPDATE: Cubs, Too)

respect wrigleyIn light of today’s explosion of discussion about his reported proposal to dump the iconic Old Scoreboard at Wrigley Field, Alderman Tom Tunney took to Facebook with an explanation and an update:

Negotiations are ongoing with the Chicago Cubs. As Alderman, I know the importance of preserving and renovating historic Wrigley Field in our community. The Cubs, the administration and I have had many meetings where creative solutions have been offered that could satisfy the community and the Cubs organization.

Moving the scoreboard to left field, where a similar one existed until the 1930’s, and replacing it with a video board it is just one of the many ideas that have been on the table. It was discussed in earnest by all parties and dismissed.

Overall, the discussions have been positive and conversations with the team continue. We all hope that solutions can be reached that are in keeping with the character of the community and the desires of the Cubs.

Moving the scoreboard is fundamentally different from demolishing it, and that would be a plan I might not hate. It might not make a ton of sense, but that’s a different story.

As for the rest of Alderman Tunney’s update, there isn’t much there. He applies a positive gloss to the talks, which I’d imagine most of you regard suspiciously. Of course, Tom Ricketts would probably say the same thing … so maybe it’s true? Eh, probably not, given how slowly the talks have proceeded and how negatively “sources” have characterized them.

Still, it’s good, good, good to have this stuff out in the public. The more the renovation issue is discussed, the more pressure all sides will feel to get an agreeable deal done. And pressure is what it’s going to take at this point.

UPDATE: As predicted, the Cubs’ statement was vanilla and agreeable: ”We have made working with our neighbors a priority. We share Ald. Tunney’s concerns for our community and have been working diligently with him and the Mayor to resolve the remaining issues.”

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

74 responses to “Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Likely Feeling Some Heat, Alderman Tunney Responds (UPDATE: Cubs, Too)”

  1. mrejr8234

    You know who I don’t care about? The rooftop owners. Just sayin.

    1. ETS

      There was a comment made on this site long ago (sorry I don’t know who to credit it to also sorry that I will probably butcher the paraphrasing) that the rooftop thing was fun and campy when it was just some guys grilling out or whatever but now that it’s bleacher seats people sell tickets to, it really doesn’t seem paramount to the fan experience.

      1. ETS

        In case it wasn’t obvious, my feelings match the sentiment of that comment.

      2. ReiCow

        It may have been me.. I made a post saying that quite a while ago. The moment the rooftop owners went cravenly mercantile with their selling tickets to the rooftop and building friggen bleachers was the moment they lost me.

        Moo.

        1. max

          If you want to party the rooftops are great!! If you watch out on groupon or other web sites like living social they have deals at $79 each all food and drink

    2. max

      why doesnt he just buy all the rooftops

      1. DarthHater

        I suspect maybe he would if they were willing to sell.

        1. max

          Trust me they will sell… They don’t like this bullshit and I heard they wanted to give that United Sign building at cost what they paid for it … His cheap ass wanted to give only a 1/3 of the price….. Building was sold at 8.4 million and the cubs offered 3 million…… Ricketts just buy the neighborhood like you did the mcdonald’s parking lot for 20 million

          1. DarthHater

            If that’s true, it seems crazy not to jump at the chance to buy as much adjoining property as possible. But it isn’t my money, I’m not a zillionaire businessman, and I don’t have any of the relevant data, so what do I know?

            1. King Jeff

              As much as the guy above you, but that didn’t stop him from pulling things out of his orifices to post.

  2. JB88

    There is an interesting footnote in that missive by Tunney, though. And that is this: If he is willing to move the scoreboard to left, what does that say of his relationships with the owners of the rooftops in left field vis-a-vis right field?

    1. cjdubbya

      I’m guessing the suggestion was to put it in the space where the Toyota sign now stands, not blocking any of the LF rooftops.

      1. TNN2

        If that’s the case then what’s the issue with putting up a video board there?

        I’ve said all along that I think the compromise will be to leave some rooftops and block the views of about 3 or 4. But I think that Tunney is trying to kick up enough dust to delay this another year in some bizzarre attempt to extract more from the Cubs.

        1. TheDynastyStartsIn2016

          TNN2 you are right-on. Tunney wants it all. At some point doesn’t Rickett’s have to decide what he’s going to do? Either live with the cities proposal, or move. Decide soon, Tom.

      2. Rcleven

        The suggestion to move the existing score board was reported last night on CBS 10:00 PM news. The suggestion was to shift the the board in center field to accommodate a new jumbo-tron and the old board both in center field to not block the view of any existing rooftops.

      3. JB88

        Respectfully, I disagree. Putting the board in left would necessarily block the right field view of the rooftops in left field. If this isn’t a lie/straight backtracking, I wonder if this is Tunney sacrificing his lowest donors for his better ones. Pure speculation on my part as to the money trail.

        1. Rcleven

          I have no pony in the race. I live in the far western suburbs. I just find this very frustrating and amusing at the same time.

      4. max

        It blocks the united sign… Which did a joint marketing with the Cubs…. In other words United wouldn’t be happy

  3. TNN2

    If he’s okay with moving the scoreboard to left (and adding a video board in center), then why does he oppose adding signs out there? That makes no sense at all.

  4. waittilthisyear

    brett-

    i have read every article that you have posted since i found this site, and have found, more times than not, that your opinion is in accordance with mine (which i usually feel strongly about). However, i just cannot seem to get interested in the wrigley renovation topic. i feel as though if you told me what to think/how to feel, perhaps that would change. so, cliff notes, what do you want to see happen in re: to wrigley renovation, relocation, etc.?

    1. Grant

      There are two main reasons that the Wrigley renovation is important to us fans:

      1) Money. The Ricketts have said that everything that the team earns goes back into the team. That means money from extra ad revenue (we’re talking potentially tens of millions of dollars per year if the Cubs get to do a lot of what they want to do with the renovation) goes straight back into the team. That means bigger payroll, which ideally means better players.

      2) Facilities. Wrigley’s are the worst. Worse than some (most?) spring training facilities. This is a factor in signing free agents as some players might not want to play half their games in the stadium with the worst player facilities. To get around this, Wrigley needs to be renovated.

  5. COW142

    Tunney is a joke-of-an-alderman! Somehow this guy is qualified to tell the Cubs how to run their stadium? It just makes me ill!

    1. cubmig

      “Tunney is a joke-of-an-alderman! Somehow this guy is qualified to tell the Cubs how to run their stadium? It just makes me ill!”

      I guess if “speeding” cars in your neighborhood were a danger to the safety of people there, you wouldn’t seek out who could help installing “speed bumps”?

      1. Internet Random

        They’re called “speed humps” in Chicago.

        I wish that were a joke.

  6. DONNIE621

    Tom Tunney = Paulie Walnuts (Suprano’s) Same type!

  7. Cryinmybluecoolaid

    I find it very funny that David Axelrod agrees with Cub fans about Tunney and the Roof tops.

    “I love Wrigley, and hope @Cubs stay,” Axelrod tweeted. “But no team should be held hostage the way the Cubs have to rooftop owners and the ward pols they own.”

    Do you think Axelrod has talked to Rahm about this?

    1. JulioZuleta

      Wow, that’s nice to see. He carries some weight.

    2. max

      alexrod firm worked for the cubs… but it seems he would be on obama and rahm side. but when someone else is paying the bills you got to do what you have to do

  8. Devin

    “Moving the scoreboard to left field, where a similar one existed until the 1930’s, and replacing it with a video board it is just one of the many ideas that have been on the table. It was discussed in earnest by all parties and dismissed.”

    Hasn’t the concept of replacing the Toyota sign in left-center with a modest sized video board been tossed around BN quite a bit recently? It makes no sense to move the old scoreboard to left and put up the new board in center. I would think the old board would create more of a viewing problem for the rooftops than a smaller video board.

    Awful job of backtracking by Tunney.

  9. JT

    Stick it to Tunney!
    ALL CUBS FANS:
    BOYCOTT THE ROOFTOPS!!!
    BOYCOTT THE ROOFTOPS!!!

  10. JT

    Tunney wants to play hardball and politics so can we.
    ALL CUBS FANS:
    BOYCOTT THE ROOFTOPS!!!
    BOYCOTT THE ROOFTOPS!!!

  11. JulioZuleta

    I think people should stop being so critical of the rooftop owners. It’s hard work letting people sit on your roof for $150 a game.

    1. max

      what is the cost of the bank note & insurance & employees & maintence & 17 percent of gross to tom ricketts…. Just wondering

      1. JulioZuleta

        Apparently pretty high. One of the owners was sued in February for defaulting on some serious loans. But my point is, it’s hard for me to feel sorry for people that make their livings this way.

      2. TheDynastyStartsIn2016

        Not as much as Rickett’s pays for the product the rooftops are stealing.

  12. mak

    Isn’t the scoreboard pretty big? Moving to LF would be different than putting a video board in LF how?

  13. max

    When buying a team remember to do due dilengence… I believe tom ricketts came after the 20 year contract that led to the rooftops to put a better product out there… Maybe the Cubs will put a better product on the field too…

  14. ruby2626

    A guy on the SCORE this A.M. had an interesting comment. He wanted to know how much the rooftops contribute to parking and security around Wrigley Field. With 3,000,000 fans at Wrigley and 300,000 going to the rooftops shouldn’t they be picking up the tab for almost 10%? The way the Alderman is going out of his way to represent the people that filled his pockets with cash is corrupt even for Chicago. The Rickett’s need to quit being such pussies and step up and do something against this Alderman. How about an investigation into his bank accounts, be curious to see how much cash has made it’s way into his pockets from the rooftop owners. Such a conflict of interest is disgusting. Go Rosemont Cubs.

    1. max

      yeah you can put a minor league team in wrigley and put the cubs at rosemont…. Wrigley is just a beer garden until you get a real product… 5 yrs and counting…. Also don’t buy a team if you can’t do what you want to do like in Omaha Nebraska….. Also ricketts owns a rooftop and that’s how he got the idea to buy the cubs

    2. Richp

      Absolutely

  15. JulioZuleta

    Here’s one alternative: Put up whatever signs you want, block their views. Then, if the rooftop owners want the views back, they can add a few stories to their homes to see over the signs. I know Wrigleyville is zoned for only 4 story building, but the Cubs can leave it to them to deal with the city and its unreasonable zoning requirements. (Obviously not plausible, but you get my point).

    1. JB88

      I actually was thinking this would be a good compromise. Lift the zoning restrictions in that area for the rooftop buildings to account for the outfield signage.

      Honestly, those zoning restrictions are sort of loosy goosy anyway. Lots of buildings in the area are over 4 stories, but it requires a special permit and a community hearing. So it is possible and certainly not impossible for that compromise to work. The question is how do you make that palatable to the rooftop owners? Lower the 17%? Permit them to keep some percentage of ad revenue?

  16. medler312

    I believe what has happened in the past 48 hours is that when Rahm went on vacation, it has allowed Ald. Tunney speak without any filter. No one is around to protect him from being a dumb Alderman.

    As each day goes by, it has become completely evident that the Cubs, their fans, the City of Chicago, and the future of Wrigley Field are being held hostage by the rooftops.

    FWIW…you can call or write Ald. Tunney, but it only carries weight if you live in the district. However, you could also contact the rooftops directly. We know with little doubt that they are screwing this up for everyone. Make them completely uncomfortable. Tunney is owned by the rooftops? We run the rooftops with our bucks. Call them and voice your complaints. Write them your complaints.

    Someone suggested to boycott them…yes. Jab them in their pocketbooks…flood their inboxes…tangle up their phone lines.

    We should all pick a day or hour to call these owners at the same time. Just flood them.

  17. Crazyhorse

    Lets play devils advocate : Let the Cubs Move they still would have to pay for a new staduim from the ground up, kinda expensive. Then let Rickets pay for Wrigley and the new staduim. Let the City condemn Wrigley Field or make it a costly adventure to keep Wrigley Field . The City then gets Wrigley field or Ricketts can sell pennies on the dollar. Then the City can steal Ricketts plan and turn Wrigley in outdoor Summer Concert festival that would directly compete with Cubs weekend scedule , The possibilties are endless.

    1. max

      Wow—- thats a wild one…….. Lets just try to figure out why ricketts wouldn’t take 100percent revenue from the ad’s on the rooftops……estimates from Platt retail institute were at 17.9 million….. Now ricketts said he can make more money with ads inside the park…. But is this really true??? At the cell they get 400,000 a sign and they have four of them … that would be 1.6 million…. So at wrigley the toyota sign gave them 2.5 for a 3yr contract. basically 800,000 a year … If the cubs had four in right field and four in the left field that would be 8 signs at 800,000 a year … Total 6.4 million…. Now the rooftops were at 17.9 million Revenue with the digital signs.. Almost triple…… What were seeing is billionaire just tring to put the rooftops out of business….. That’s not tradition

  18. JulioZuleta

    The longer this drags on, and the more unreasonable the City, Tunney, and the rooftop owners get, the angrier I get.

    How would moving the scoreboard accomplish anything? Why not just put the JumboTron in the place he suggests moving the scoreboard to? I can’t imagine a proposed JumboTron would be any bigger than the scoreboard. Sounds like a pretty terrible attempt at spinning a terrible suggestion (destroying it altogether). I guess that’s why he’s still an Alderman. To move up in this city you have to be a little more creative than that, Tom.

  19. P hertz

    The more Tunney is exposed for what he is…the better.

    1. max

      TUNNEY took over for the old alderman Bernie Hanson.. Tunny owns a business and knows the cubs havent helped the community by giving back.. rooftops have given to police fire and charities in all sorts of fashion….hmmmmm Rooftops have been good neighbors. also its easy to be a billionaire and make statements against the alderman. Remember the contract signed is in effect … Don’t ignore a contract that these rooftop owners have spent tons of money to bring the buildings up to code…. I think total has been 55 million spent…. I think thats more then Ricketts has put into the ballpark… Rooftop owners would be glad to sell at what they have into the buildings.. Rumor has it he offered a third…..If he blocks them he can get them cheap…. This is the guy were dealing with… Go get em Business and forget about the real reason…. THE TEAM

      1. TWC

        Hey, max, you’ve been really thorough today letting everyone who reads the comments know you support the rooftop club owners, thanks.

        1. Internet Random

          Literal LOL. (It was a chuckle, but it was audible.)

        2. farmerjon

          …and a very familiar…style of including …lots of …ellipses…

          1. TWC

            Oh dear.

            1. DarthHater

              OMG, Captain Ellipsis is back?

              bodysnatchers.jpg

      2. Dale's Ear
      3. justinjabs

        All I read was ” cubs havent helped the community by giving back ” and that is false.

  20. FastBall

    Why wouldn’t Ricketts just demolish Wrigley and build a new venue for concerts himself? Maybe all the away weekends he has big ass concerts and can cram way more people in paying $80 a ticket than he can get into a Cubs game. He doesn’t need the city to be involved. It’s his property he can do what ever the hell he wants with it if they aren’t playing games there anymore. Which I would just love to see happen. The place is a dump. It’s a shrine but it’s still a dump.

  21. RoughRider

    Tunny sounds as if he has areally good chance of being Illinois Governor someday. Another indicted Illinois Governor.

  22. King Jeff

    It doesn’t sound like much has gotten done. They are running out of time fast on this.

  23. mediumjh

    I like the idea above of boycotting the rooftops. Take it a step further, don’t spend your money at Murphy’s, Sports Corner, or Cubby Bear when you go into the neighborhood. If you go there, you still put money in rooftop owner’s pockets.

  24. Curt

    news release just in cubs working diligently with Ald Tunney ( cough cough bs cough cough)deal to be done soon unless it isn’t ,mayor Emmanuel to broker peace talks unless he doesent , news at 11 .

  25. ChicagoCubsTalk

    Instead of renovation, Rickets should build the stadium somewhere outside of Chicago. Then they could play more nights games, have more concerts..etc Why let the neighborhood decided…Its all about the money

    1. BluBlud

      Steroids. SMH

      1. TWC

        Heh.

  26. chrisfchi

    Just make the whole stadium a jumbotron.(joking)

  27. Dean

    I wonder if Ricketts has looked into playing home games at US Cell, Milwaukee or another site for a season or two rather than playing at a Wrigley Field that is a work in progress. Maybe he could play that card, if it’s not already, to somehow to leverage things a bit. He’d have to have a handshake deal in effect with one the other parks for it to be credible. It’d give MLB a chance to show their support. Maybe the rooftops could sell seats to watch the construction workers! Do I really want to see that happen…no. But the possibility of no baseball at Wrigley, even short term, would get everyone’s attention.

  28. Die hard

    Don’t be surprised if Cubs and White Sox work out deal to let Cubs play next 3 seasons at White Sox park while shutting down Wrigley and that should stop the Rooftoppers in their tracks by having no game revenue for 3 yrs

  29. cubsnivy56

    I live in Iowa. I usually make it in for two games per season. Usually in the bleachers! I have always thought it would be cool to do the rooftops! Why not, over the last 30+ years I have sat everywhere else in the park. But NO! I don’t like what is going on with Tunney and the rooftop owners (sorry Brett), they are working against the best interests of the Chicago Cubs and I will nort support them. The rooftop owners need to know how Cubs Fans feel!

    PS: we usally have 25 to 20 in our group.
    PSS: when is Tunney up for reelection I may consider a contribution to a Cub friendly candidate.

  30. Ned Serious

    I am going to BOYCOTT the rooftop and bars this season. It’s that simple, they are being totally unrealistic to an owner who paid big money for a team, and then is willing to foot the bill on improvements as well. In this day and age, that’s unheard of. No money for them. Longtime fan, but let them improve the stadium, put in signage, or leave town for Rosemont or somewhere else. Team first, stadium second.

    1. Edwin

      So the Rooftop owner’s are being unrealistic by trying to keep their revenue stream intact, instead of just voiding the contract to help the Cubs out?