respect wrigleyYesterday’s optimism about a Wrigley Renovation deal coming “soon” has been tempered – only slightly – but just a bit more posturing that has emerged over the last 24 hours. The new deadline for a deal is Monday, which is the home opener, and you can still tentatively expect a deal announced at some point next week. But nothing is ever easy. (Obviously.)

  • It sounds like the possible parking garage, built on property north of the ballpark already owned by the Cubs, is something of a sticking point. The Ricketts Family might not yet be on board with constructing an expensive garage. “They have a big lot, a cemetery lot, that if you look at Google is as big as the stadium,” Alderman Tom Tunney told the Tribune of the parking issues currently being discussed. “Can they build on that? …. Building is expensive, I understand that, but it’s also part of the neighborhood concerns …. They’re exploring all their options here. And I think primarily from the combination of certain additions in the community and a more robust remote parking plan.” I don’t entirely understand that last sentence fragment, but the overall point is clear: Tunney wants more available parking in the Wrigleyville area.
  • If building a parking garage is too expensive, Tunney generously volunteered that the Cubs could provide free parking at remote lots, and then free shuttling in to Wrigley Field for game attendees.
  • Dave Kaplan confirms that his (Cubs) sources say the deadline for a deal has indeed been extended to next Monday, and writes that the Ricketts Family is willing to considering building that parking garage. Here’s Kaplan, essentially laying out the Cubs’ position: “I learned Wednesday that the cost of a major parking structure which could accommodate a significant number of cars would be very expensive, but is something that the Ricketts family is willing to fund if, and only if, they get a majority of the concessions that they desire regarding renovations. Those include signage, a jumbotron and a significant number of additional night games and concert dates.”
  • That all said, the fact that this kind of fight about a parking garage is even occurring is a good sign for the overall talks. You don’t really spend the final week of negotiations digging into the details like parking if you’re not already pretty much in agreement on the really contentious stuff (signage, JumboTron, night games (though the parking and night games are related)). Clearly the Cubs aren’t quite yet getting everything they want, otherwise they wouldn’t be holding up the parking garage as leverage. I have a hard time seeing the parking garage scuttling the entire deal, though.
  • Kaplan cites sources who suggest Mayor Emanuel may not be as 100% certain that the Cubs won’t move as he’s portrayed publicly: “Additional sources today also told me that Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to at least move talks along to the point where the Cubs would feel comfortable enough in announcing that they are definitely staying at Wrigley Field and that construction will begin on the first phase of the renovation plan at the conclusion of this season.” One of those sources went on to tell Kaplan that Emanuel understands the economic importance of keeping the Cubs in the City of Chicago, and will keep pushing for a deal to get done. He’s simply balancing political interests in the process.
  • Kaplan’s piece ends with a new “threat to move,” based on “speculation” that the other Ricketts siblings – besides Tom – are tired of Tunney’s obstinance, and are encouraging Tom to open up discussions with other cities that might make an offer to the Cubs. I have a hard time believing that the siblings, including Tom, are not completely on the same page about this (Wrigley is either a cash cow, or it’s not, and they know their books better than anyone).
  • Tunney added this, as a general matter about the entire Wrigley renovation issue, in his conversation with the Tribune: “My concern is the community, and there are so many moving parts I’m not exactly sure what we’ll be able to announce but, hopefully announce that they’re staying at Wrigley Field in Lakeview for the rest of their duration, at least until they win the World Series. There’s lots of different parts to this so I think when there is, it won’t be a resolution of the many asks that are out there, but a confidence that they’re staying in Lakeview.” In other words, Tunney wants the Cubs to announce that they’re staying at Wrigley, but also wants to emphasize that they aren’t going to get what they want. Sounds about right.
  • More Tunney, on the ancillary things the Ricketts Family intends to build around Wrigley, including a boutique hotel, an athletic club, and retail space: “Well, six months ago there wasn’t the hotel. So now we have a hotel, OK? . . . By the way it’s more than a hotel — the ask: full service food and beverage, a large health club and 176 rooms. So drivers of traffic, congestion. We’ve got a parking problem already, so how does this complicate that?” I am not a resident, so I could be the one off base. But Tunney sounds perilously out of touch when he says things like that. It is my understanding that a hotel and an athletic club in the Wrigleyville area are the kinds of things that residents want. Yet Tunney treats them like they’re just another headache that the Cubs want to thrust down upon him. I just don’t get it.
  • cjdubbya

    No, Brett, you get it. Tunney’s looking like the one that doesn’t get it.

  • MichiganGoat

    Tunney all I have to say is

    • Ryan

      Can’t beat a good Naked Gun GIF

      • Cubbie Blues

        Let us know when you find one. 😛

  • Matt

    Are they talking about that lot around Racine/Grace/Clark? I could see a parking garage working well there without a real long walk to the ballpark.

  • hansman1982

    “Kaplan’s piece ends with a new “threat to move,” based on “speculation” that the other Ricketts siblings – besides Tom – are tired of Tunney’s obstinance, and are encouraging Tom to open up discussions with other cities that might make an offer to the Cubs. I have a hard time believing that the siblings, including Tom, are not completely on the same page about this (Wrigley is either a cash cow, or it’s not, and they know their books better than anyone).”

    Actually, this does make sense. Tom appears to be the most connected to the Cubs and therefore most connected to Wrigley. He is also the face of the ownership group and doesn’t want to be the one that moved the Cubs from Wrigley. The other siblings would see it as more of an investment.

  • Andy

    Living in the neighborhood, I can confirm, Tunney is only looking out for his business constituents (read $$), not the residents. Traffic, even on game days, is not as horrific as he describes. Parking in the area, on a random Tuesday at noon, is always bad, but no worse than any other area of the city at any other time. Living in such a vibrant area, you have to understand that to get the good things(dining, night life, sports, etc.) you’re not going to have miles of open parking around, to get that, move to the far southside where there is no dining, nightlife or safety. Tunney, stop being an ass for the sake of being an ass.

    • Northside Matt

      The business constituents angle can’t be emphasized enough. It’s funny how Tunney wants parking to alleviate congestion, yet many residents profit from selling parking spaces to Cubs fans. Congestion will still exist with a new parking structure at Grace because there’s only one in and one out.

    • Derrek

      I also live in the neighborhood… traffic is not too bad now because it is spread out. People make all sorts of treks to get to a game. I think a parking garage would be a nightmare given the location. Having thousands of cars pouring out on to the low-density streets of the neighborhood would be a mess. The remote option is looking better.

  • Spencer

    I cannot imagine parking in a parking garage for a game. What a nightmare that would be trying to get out of that thing after a game is over. I like the idea of satellite lots with free shuttle services (they already do this to an extent). And I guess I sort of understand Tunney’s point about the hotel – it’s not the hotel, fitness club etc. that’s the problem, it’s the extra congestion that that hotel is going to create that he doesn’t like.

    • Northside Matt

      Free shuttles seem to be better than the parking structure on Grace. What I never understood is why a parking garage isn’t build in the open lot on Ashland, just south of Addison. It wouldn’t be as large, but it would make more sense logistically.

  • STH Section 514 Row 3

    If this is what is in the news regarding talks I feel like we are going to be happy with the resolution. Obviously the Cubs will use the construction of a parking garage as a bargaining chip to further get the things that they are asking for. It’s great to be in a position of power because the Cubs are essentially using a future revenue stream to them as leverage. Obviously there will be significant up front costs to building such a parking garage, but eventually charging $20-$30 a car to park there will pay dividends.
    I don’t think Tunney has much to argue about regarding traffic from the hotel. I would assume there is more traffic in that area from cars visiting the McDonalds drive thru than there would be for a hotel and a gym. Parking on game days would be the major drag. If I were the Cubs I would propose building a smaller parking garage that only holds 100-200 cars max. Home games are only 81 days a year and the rest of the time that parking structure would be a ghost town.

  • http://@itsmerossw Ross Wallace

    As a resident and someone who has attended some of these meetings closed to the media, Tunney is completely one-sided on all of these issues.

    Yes, parking is an issue in the area but additional parking in the hub of congestion is NOT the answer. Most of Tunneys objections to the plan are minor and should never hold up any of these negotiations.

    The issue is the rooftops (huge supports and contributors to Tunney) plain and simple. He can dance around questions and say its not but those who have been in the room know.

  • mak

    If seating is not going to dramatically increase, why do we need a parking lot? Mind you, I live in the neighborhood and don’t quite get it. There is enough parking right now to accommodate the morons who drive to the park.

    • hansman1982

      It gives Tunney something to stand in front of a cut the ribbon on.

      It also takes money from the people who open their lots to people to park on.

  • cubmig

    Here’s a guess at what might ultimately happen in these talks.
    1) No deal is reached and no renovations proceed.
    2) The accompanying explanation will be that the Cubs are proceeding with exploring non-Wrigley options (including moving the team to the new —and to be further upgraded— Spring Training facilities in AZ …….UGH)
    3) Though not openly stated, the Cubs won’t leave Wrigley until a WS berth is won. That way the history books on the Cubs at Wrigley can be closed to the satisfaction of all and the CHICAGO Cubs’ final chapter can be stamped and sealed “WINNERS”.

    ………….end of story………

  • Kevin

    If the Cubs get a deal done to stay at Wrigley but don’t get everything they want as far as extra night games and a large jumbotron, a lot of fans will be disappointed. Tom, Please hold out for everything you want and deserve.

  • DONNIE621

    “with a new “threat to move,” based on “speculation” that the other Ricketts siblings – besides Tom – are tired of Tunney’s obstinance, and are encouraging Tom to open up discussions with other cities that might make an offer to the Cubs. I have a hard time believing that the siblings, including Tom, are not completely on the same page about this (Wrigley is either a cash cow, or it’s not, and they know their books better than anyone).”

    Today on the Score Gordon W said the Cubs blew the PR part of this (among other things)… really. I suppose GW wants the Cubs to continue bending over and grabbing their ankles. Time for that response is over. The Greedy ( TT, RE, RTO’s) want every thing and they want the Cubs to pony up just for the privilage of working at a certain address. The Cubs need to have a modern facility comparable to every other BIG MARKET team this includes the ability to monetize their investment without BIG BROTHER putting their boot on their throats. No it is well past time for the Cubs to look at options and get the best deal for the team and for the fans.

    I am tired of the Cubs not winning. They have tried every thing. Including an Exorcist to lift the curse of the Goat… the should have brought in a exorcist to lift curse of the Greedy.

  • Patrick W.

    Complaining about something you actually want is a common negotiation technique (though a dangerous one) employed by people who are not particularly skilled in negotiations. As opposed to taking a cooperative approach he’s taking a competitive approach to negotiations (you get this, so I get this) which is leading him to not put the right value on what his concessions are going to be. He’s trying to make the Hotel/Club building a concession when, if you look at it in Cubs terms, it is not. The Cubs are going to build something on that lot and Tunney has little he can do to stop that.

  • North Side Irish

    The shuttle is fine idea in theory, but it would depend on how far away the parking lot is from the stadium. Currently, fans can park at the Devry campus near Addison and Western (about 2.25 miles west of Wrigley) and take a shuttle to the game for $6. My suburban friends have done this and it takes them close to an hour to get back to their cars. This takes into account the time spent waiting to board a shuttle bus and then sitting in traffic on Addison to get back to the remote lot.

    It’s a nice idea, but it doesn’t really work in the real world because you’re still sitting in traffic. It would make more sense to me to ban parking on Addison during Cubs games and making it easier to get people out of the area after games. But that ain’t gonna happen.

  • Curt

    TUNNEY is such a hypocritical jackass, enoughhhhh, ricketts needs to come to the table and say here’s the deal , here’s what we’re willing to concede on take it or leave it, if the threat of leaving starts to appear more real this will get done post haste.

  • Kevin

    The Ricketts need to send Laura to the negotiating table as she probably has more pull than Tom.

  • Cheryl

    How much will this second timeline play into the negotiations? If no deal is done by Monday I can see the cubs throwing up their hands in frustration and looking elsrwhere. Tunney and the RTO better realize that the Cubs just may leave and they’ll have nothing.

  • WI Jeff

    Hi Mak:
    I’ve lived in the “neighborhood”. My first date with the women I married was Wrigley Field. I’ve blown off seminars and work events to attend games, I’ve parked at the out lots at Lane Tech, bused in with the masses, parked with local residents and friends at Red Top Parking, taken the trains, the L and all kinds of forms to games. When I lived in the neighborhood I could walk, bike or “pop” in to find a ticket! Life changes and we grow with those changes. But a moron, I am not- I am a fan of the Chicago Cubs!

    After 12 years on the season ticket list, I now have my piece of Nirvana and can afford to attend more games. Oh, but growing in my career, changing jobs, having kids, I moved out of the neighborhood where my grandparents, parents and I once lived. Please don’t be so simple minded. — Taking clients, friends, children and family (like my 75 year old father) I make accommodations and their comfort into consideration.

    When you put your bong down and let the smoke clear… you aren’t a bigger or better fan because you live in the neighborhood or take public transportation. We are all fans because we overcome all hardships: weather, financial, traffic, losing seasons, heart wrenching loses, overwhelming joy of unexpected success, cruddy play, traffic or parking congestion/prices to attend games any way we can. If I park in your space with easy out and you make $40-$50….Good for you…..Love the free market system.

  • Kevin

    Cheryl, I think you are right on!

  • cavemencubbie

    A point of information. Where does Wrigley rank, in terms of seating capacity, to other big league ballparks?

  • JulioZuleta

    It’s funny that Tunney wants a parking garage to help with congestion. I, and many of my friends, take the CTA to the game because there is no parking. It seems like common sense that more convenient parking would bring more drivers, and more congestion…

    • Stinky Pete

      Exactly. More drivers trying to arrive and leave at the same time.

  • Tom A.

    Mr. Tunney likely wants parking to allow people to better get to his restaurants. Not everything politicians ask for when using they power is pure and honorable.

  • gutshot5820

    This has to be the first time in history that a major sports team has to build things and provide concessions in order to upgrade their facilities. It should be the other way around. Whoever is doing the negotiations for the Cubs needs to be released asap. Tom Ricketts seems like a nice guy, but when it comes to negotiating, he is dumb as a rock.

  • Mike S

    The parking garage is not necessary. Its already been mentioned enough on this thread: Cub fans know how to get to the games and will find their own unique and wild ways. That lot by the cemmetary is fine as it is, but if the garage is leverage for Ricketts than whatever, build it.

    I am most worried about this “re-locating” issue. That would be the most moronic move in Chicago sports history (even worse than Lou Brock) I dont even want to get in to the specifics because I refuse to believe that this even has weight.

  • 5412


    Several points. As far as the Ricketts siblings go, the technique is called “good cop, bad cop”. Smart move having them bitch to the media because it does create some pressure. That puts Tom in a position that he can say “It will never get past the board of directors” if Tunney keeps up with his garbage.

    As far as Tunney caring about local business, that is pure BS. Tunney cares about one thing, his political contributions. Likely he is using this event to drum up a whole lot more into his coffers. As the mayor said, never led a good crisis go to waste and Tunney is milking it for all he can.

    Personally, I hope Ricketts walks. The Cubs are the draw, not the damn stadium. Put it in Rosemont, win a world series and you will see attendance will be just fine.

    Rahm has to step in, he cannot straddle the fence much longer. If he doesn’t, then the Cubs should take all offers off the table and say they are looking at other options.


  • cubsnivy56

    I think the parking problem and congestion is over rated. I live in Iowa and come in a couple of times per year for a game. We tried drving in and parking (blue lot), and it wasn’t too bad. We tried the reomte lots and the bus, didn’t care for it as people walking were moving faster. So now we stay at a downtown hotel and take the ‘L’, which works great! Just stay for at least i beer after the game to avoid waiting to get on the train.

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  • itakethetrain

    On parking, yes, residents want better parking management so it’s less of a headache, but no, we don’t just want to build more parking that will bring in more cars to compete for space in the neighborhood. Based on comments here and this petition, residents know “more parking” is not the solution to managing the parking issues:

    I’m not sure where Tunney or the media are getting the idea that residents want more parking. Has anyone done an actual parking utilization study in the area to see if the private paid lots are even full? It seems that would be wise before committing to a multi-million-dollar project that could very well end up half empty, like at Yankee Stadium: