If you need a full catch-up on where thing stand with respect to the Wrigley Field renovation project, here’s that catch-up. The very short version is: the Cubs, the Mayor, and Alderman Tom Tunney have agreed on the framework of a deal that will allow the renovations, and will allow the Cubs certain new revenue streams. The particulars of the deal still have to go through the actual approval process, which will include stops at City Council, the Landmarks Commission, and various local Planned Development community meetings.
A couple of those new revenue streams and one of those community inputs are “more night games and more advertising” and “the Southport Neighbors Association,” respectively. And that association isn’t keen on giving the Cubs the 40 night games and additional late Friday starts that they’re looking for, nor are they crazy about the advertising plans the Cubs have conceived (which includes a large new hotel, which will bear some advertising).
Jill Peters, the President of the SNA, seems to oppose every part of the renovation plan, per a report from the Sun-Times, though I suppose that’s hyperbole. Specifically, Peters finds anything more than 37 total night events to be excessive (connecting night events to drinking (yes), property damage (probably), robberies (eh), shootings (no, no) and home invasions (I find that connection very hard to believe)). She also questions the size of the proposed hotel, which she says will actually be considerably larger than 91 feet when you consider an additional structure the Cubs will put on top, per drawings she was shown. (I’m not sure what the structure would be – Peters described it as “tiara-style crown” – but I’d guess it would be advertising related.) Peters also opposes moving the Wrigley outfield walls outward, a move motivated in part to help reduce the impact on the rooftops, because of the traffic implications.
The Sun-Times piece has more details and is worth a read. While I doubt that this particular set of objections will derail anything, it is a reminder that this community process won’t be smooth sailing. I don’t think the Mayor or Alderman Tunney would have announced a “deal” with the Cubs if they didn’t plan to help push the Cubs’ plan through, however, so I tentatively expect that they will be on the Cubs’ side. The Cubs will take input from the community groups, and will likely compromise on the margins of their plan.
As for core elements like the night games – in noting that the Cubs are seeking only 40 night games, Cubs VP of Communications made sure to point out that the MLB average is 54 games – and the hotel, however, I doubt the Cubs are going to bend too much. I suspect that they already bent considerably in the months-long conversations with the Mayor and the Alderman just to get to this point.