Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Sources Say a Deal is Now Close

respect wrigleyIt the Wrigley renovation story were a trade rumor, it would be Brian Roberts plus Jake Peavy times Matt Garza. And if it were a trade rumor, we’d now be at the point where we’re regarding a Bob Nightengale report suspiciously.

That’s because, after another day of negotiations yesterday, CBS Chicago is reporting that the Chicago Cubs and the important players in the renovation negotiations – the City, the neighborhood, the politicians – are “close” to an agreement on things like in-stadium advertising, a video board, night games, parking, and security, which would then allow the Cubs to proceed with the actual meat of the renovation to Wrigley Field. The report indicates a deal could be done shortly before or after next Monday’s home opener, and sources say all sides are still talking. No details of the agreement are being reported, so I’d think the sources are instead simply relating the tenor of talks as suggesting a deal will get done.

The CBS report also notes that the Cubs plan to build a parking structure one block north of Wrigley Field on property the team already owns, which would alleviate some of the parking-related concerns (and could be an additional revenue generator).

NBC Chicago adds that yesterday’s talks, in its words, “amounted to little more than phone conversations between City Hall and team officials.” That’s actually a very interesting suggestion, because it indicates that (1) a deal probably is very close, if the sides are just having phone conversations on the day the “deadline” passes; and (2) the neighborhood stuff might already be wrapped up if the Cubs are only speaking to the City at this point. Perhaps, having settled signage, video board, night game, concert, and street fair issues with the neighborhood, the Cubs are now simply getting City sign-off on landmark issues, security issues, and parking issues.

Or maybe I’m just getting too optimistic. All signs as of today, however, point to a deal by next week.

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

61 responses to “Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Sources Say a Deal is Now Close”

  1. Matt

    Please, please, please…more night games, parking and renovations. Need this badly! Parking with some tailgating would be nice too! :)

    1. Cub Fan Dan

      With the summer Friday games still listed as “TBD” on the schedule, Im wondering (hoping) if those will become 3:05 starts this year?

      1. Mrcub1958

        7:05pm. Let’s be like everybody else.

    2. Noah

      I would sincerely doubt there would be parking with sufficient ground level space for tailgating. Miller Park has acres of ground level parking. You’re looking at most at a city block here. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a ramp (notice they say parking structure, not parking lot) with several floors of parking, making tailgating impossible.

      With that note, I’m not the biggest fan of tailgating at baseball games. Is it fun to do it at Miller Park? Sure. But it takes the focus greatly off the game. I’ve probably been to a half dozen games at Miller Park, and only made it in for one before opening pitch. And it was something like 37 degrees that day.

      1. DarthHater

        Impossible? You mean you’ve never tailgated in a multi-level parking ramp? It’s awesome! :-P

        1. Noah

          Ok, I don’t know if “impossible” is the correct word. Illegal might be, though.

          1. wvcubsfan

            All I can compare it to is college football, but my parking pass is in a parking garage and tailgating is allowed. The only restriction is grills are only allowed on the top floor. Generators are still allowed, so the only thing you are missing is cooking your dogs/burgers next to your car.

      2. Tom A.

        Is that tailgating that they do at Soldier Field ? Top floor requires a pass to tailgate (Hint, extra money paid to be top floor and tailgate.) and lower floors just people hanging out waiting for buddies to show.

        And, when game starts, all tailgating ends (Hint, neighbors and police would want something like that.).

    3. Steve B

      Tailgaiting in Wrigleyville? That is the stupidest thing I’ve heard in a while. This is not Miller Park. This is not US Cellular. There is a whole neighborhood of bars and restaurants to eat and drink at.

      1. wvcubsfan

        Maybe some people are cheap (I mean thrifty), or perhaps gluten intolerant, who knows.

      2. XavierGunz

        Good call brotha. Let not take an emphasis off of the actual games and bars around the neighborhood. Theres so much to do in the area lets not steal business away from the surrounding bars etc.

      3. BluBlud

        Maybe some people are just tired of the Idiots that run businesses in the neighborhood trying to keep the Cubs from being as competitive as they can could be just to fatten their own pockets. I plan on coming to Chicago in the Summer, and the first I want to stop is by Murphey’s Bleachers so I can let it be known how disgraceful and Idiotic she is. But I would never spend a dime in a bar in Wrigley, or on a rooftop owner, who tried to keep the Cubs from running their business.

        1. hansman1982

          I wonder how quickly she would kick you out if you hoarded a table and then charged people to sit there to drink her beer.

          1. josh2

            +1

      4. Tom A.

        WOW ! You don’t hear many things if that is the “stupidest thing your have heard.” It is actually quite a reasonable thought and question, one that the owner of the parking structure is going to have to develop a position on.

        It is actually a fun thing to do at Soldier Field. You get to meet with your buddies and other fans to talk about the game. That is a very different experience than trying to push your way up to the bar to get a beer in an over-crowded Murphys.

  2. MightyBear

    Thank God.

    1. cubchymyst

      Agreed

  3. Rich

    Great news…Funny first paragraph Brett!

  4. Mike
    1. Cub Style

      The Green lot!

    2. ncsujuri

      That would make sense Mike, not sure what piece of land the Cubs currently own. On th erevenue stream part of a parking structure, my mom just told me the other day that when she was in Dallas visiting my sister and went to an event at Jerry Jones-land parking in the lots furthest from the stadium was still $35…DAMNNNNNNNNN

  5. caryatid62

    I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

  6. MichiganGoat

    Okay if this all happens next week, what will we do for an obsessive watch. We need our fix, we need obsessive watch news, we need it baby.

    1. kgd

      Now that the season has started, we’ll be obsessively watching and dissecting each game.

  7. OCCubFan

    I predict that Cubs fans will be disappointed with how little the Cubs get.

    1. caryatid62

      That says more about Cubs fans than it does about the merits of the deal.

    2. DarthHater

      I predict die hard will be disappointed no matter what happens. ;-)

  8. Kyle

    I have a feeling this is the city’s way of telling the Cubs that they don’t get to set deadlines, but otherwise it’s done.

    1. OCCubFan

      Never assume conspiracy or a well-thought-out strategy explains things when greed or simple incompetence suffices.

  9. gutshot5820

    The Cubs should have had Scott Boras negotiate their deal with the city. The first thing he would’ve done is get competing bids from other cities. Then he would have a room full of statistics, quantifying how much the City of Chicago is benefiting from their relationship with the Cubs financially, in real estate tax revenue, amusement tax, etc… Then he would lay out what the City of Chicago would lose if they left. Then he would make a booklet made of gold of all the highlights of his case and send a copy to the mayor and every alderman. Of course, he would ask for $500M in public funding and get $250M and ask for 70 night games and settle for 50.

    Who the heck has been negotiating for the Cubs?

    1. DarthHater

      +

    2. aCubsFan

      Who is saying that haven’t done all those things and more?

    3. OCCubFan

      ++

  10. mak

    I am hopeful that the months of hand-wringing, posturing and blatant cash grabs brings about a solution that: a) allows the family to give Wrigley a desperately needed upgrade in facilities for players and fans, b) allows the family to extract more value from the team, c) keeps Wrigley and the surrounding neighborhood from becoming the generic zoo-like atmosphere that most stadiums have now and d) keeps the aesthetic value and tradition to the park/neighborhood. As rocky as these negotiations have been, sometimes you need the stubborn parties to ensure that compromises are made. Many very valuable mergers have gone down the same way.

  11. ruby2626

    Has there been any talk of expanding the capacity of Wrigley. Kind of a joke how small the park is considering the size of the city and the number of fans. Would love to see a deck completely covering the roof tops but we know that’s not gonna happen.

    Really need to drastically increase the number of night games especially considering that the WGN contract is coming due in 2014. Obviously ratings and thus the money the Cubs would receive would greatly increase the more the number of night games.

    Anxious to see the terms of this new deal, let’s see how tough Ricketts really is or did he cave.

  12. NextYear

    Are they referring to the Green Lot when they are talking about the property owned a block to the north?? Sounds like an OK idea but congestion at Clark and Grace can be a nightmare with the current amount of parking there

  13. Curt

    and much like said trade rumors regard them all with suspicion until the news conference says that the deal is done, on one hand I’d love to see the cubs stay in wrigley, but everytime they want to do anything you need some freaking politician with his hand out and their own agenda permission, I guess I wouldn’t object to them leaving but I hope they stay.

  14. TSB

    Maybe the White Stockings can move to Rosemont .

  15. STH Section 514 Row 3

    I can’t see the Cubs caving on any of their demands if they are meeting the city’s demands on parking and additional police coverage. I expect the 6500 foot scoreboard and landmark limitations softened. I also think they will be able to utilize Sheffield on game days as requested as well. Last I remember the Cubs were only asking for an additional 3 night games and 1 or 2 more concerts right? At least that was what was “leaked” from the neighborhood meetings as I recall.

    1. BluBlud

      I think the Cubs threat to move was taken very serious, and I don’t think they take anything thats not at least close to what they asked for. They have the leverage, and have no need to settle. The Cubs will still be the Cubs if they move, but the neighborhood will be nothing without the Cubs. I also wouldn’t be suprised if the rooftops are shutout, or at least partially shut out, when it is all said and done. They really have no leverage. I think fans will be extremely suprised, and Happy with the outcome. Unless of course, you work for the rooftops. ;)

      1. STH Section 514 Row

        I agree BluBlud. I don’t think the rooftops get shutout but I expect the 17% in profit they are paying will go up to compensate for lost advertising revenue. I could see the rooftops paying a much higher % of profit, or a little higher % in profit and also put ad’s on their buildings with all revenue coming to the Cubs. Whatever the balancing figure is between what the Cubs estimates are for lost revenue by putting their own ads up inside Wrigley versus on the rooftops will be the % increase. I would propose an extension with the rooftops & city that says the Cubs will put up the huge Jumbotron and ad space on the rooftops but we need double the current % paid up to 34%. In return the Cubs will sign an extension that will allow the rooftops to stay for another 20 years.

        The rooftops can either enjoy their current 17% deal for the next 11 years and then cease to exist, or they can pony up more of their profit to the Cubs and continue to operate for years to come. Seems like an easy decision.

      2. caryatid62

        The threat to move wasn’t taken seriously because it wasn’t serious.

  16. XavierGunz

    i hope this deal gets done before opening day. And about the tailgating, there is so much yes to do in the area. lets not take any business away from the surrounding bars and stuff. If Rickets plant to build more and more restaurants in the surrounding area we dont need to tailgate. Although tailgating does make the experience more affordable for the fan it also takes from the neighborhood. I just feel tailgating is and should not be a baseball thing. Screw the way they do it at Miller Park. Go Cubs!!!

    1. BluBlud

      I think we should support the good bars in Wrigleyville, and target and bypass the Greedy bar owners in Wrigleyville.

      1. HubbaBubba

        I really have no problem with greedy bar owners for being greedy or for any other surrounding business for being greedy. The only thing that bothers me is that the legitimate business (Cubs), is facing extortion from the city and certain businesses because they won’t allow there product to be stolen from them. If they want to make more money, then they should run a better business.

        I do agree with a good boycott, and won’t be visiting Murphy’s bleachers anytime soon!

      2. caryatid62

        It’s the job of a business to make as much money as possible. The Cubs are trying to maximize their profits, as are the businesses around Wrigley field. To call one of the groups “greedy” is ridiculous. They’re all being greedy–that’s what businesses are supposed to be.

        1. DarthHater

          You’re right. The rooftops aren’t greedy. Just thieves.

          1. caryatid62

            Actually, they’re not.

            They were before the Cubs signed a contract with them.

  17. cubmig

    Brett’s use of “video board” rather than “Jumbo Tron” says a lot about what the end result of that issue may have come down to. Also, the parking lot as a revenue producer is a reasonable solution to neighborhood concerns (even though the reality is that leaving that place is not going to be without its own headaches). Last word: Any video board that goes up is going to have to be planned to avoid obstructing rooftop views (if that is a given condition by owners). That means a low, narrow structure behind the left field bleachers, or a higher small square where the Toyota sign stands (yep, relocate the Toyota sign). Or……and I doubt it will fly, but the Cubs could erect two good size video trons against the roof light standards —–mainly the middle or end ones on the left and right field side. Some visibility will be lost to those in sections behind home plate, but…….oh well just an idea to avoid adding clutter to the clean esthetic look that exists as things stand.

  18. Barroof

    BluBlud is such a dork. You can’t afford to drink at Murphy’s. Stay home and watch the game on your black and white tv. Silly man.

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