As has long been the case with the Wrigley Renovation story, the cause of the holdup that has delayed any kind of formal announcement of a deal depends on whom you ask.
If you ask me, it’s a hugely complicated financial and political transaction, one whose paramaters cannot be dictated by artificial deadlines.
If you ask Danny Ecker at Crain’s, the holdup right now are the conflicting neighborhood interests Alderman Tom Tunney is trying to accommodate. According to Ecker’s sources, there is a constant push and pull on Tunney, from groups that want more parking, to groups that want less parking. From groups that want no outfield signage, to groups that don’t care about signage inside or outside the park. Because all of the pieces of the final agreement with the Cubs must work together, Tunney can’t risk having a critical component of the deal shot down by one sect of his constituency.
If you ask ABC 7′s John Garcia, the only holdup at this point is the rooftop situation. Tunney has already withdrawn his request for a parking garage, according to Garcia, and the dispute about how much outfield signage is too much outfield signage is really the only sticking point. Garcia even notes that the Cubs have already missed deadlines for ordering materials, which could threaten the start date for the project.
Who’s right with respect to the source of the delay? Well, probably all of us.
That’s always been the thing with the efforts to put together a comprehensive agreement that (1) provided the renovations that Wrigley needs, (2) provided the Ricketts Family the revenue opportunities to pay for those renovations, (3) ensured that those revenue opportunities would be available long-term to the Cubs, (4) protected the rooftop views into Wrigley Field to the extent required by a complicated contract with the team, (5) ensured the neighborhood wouldn’t be too adversely affected, (6) ensured the neighborhood would get some benefits, (7) ensured political entities would come out smelling like roses … I could go on.
The point is: it’s complicated. As much as we might want to reduce the story to a neat 400-word piece, that’s never been possible (hence the obsessive, incessant, lengthy coverage here). A myriad of issues have complicated these renovation talks, and we outsiders aren’t really in a great position to know the precise depths of those issues. The best we can do is take it all in, and distill it.
From my seat, it sounds like everyone has agreed that the Cubs will stay at Wrigley, that the Cubs’ preferred funding mechanisms will be available to them (if not to the extent they desire), and that the actual process of getting to the point where folks can sign on a line is going to take some time.
There probably isn’t one singular, absolute reason for the delay in finalizing a deal. The reasons, plural, all relate to, and feed off of, each other. We just need one of the dominoes to fall, and the multiple hold-ups will probably start clearing up.