Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Confidence in Offseason Start Date Grows, Plus More Bits

respect wrigleyQuite a bit going on with the Wrigley Renovation Planned Development Process (I’ve gotta come up with a better way to discuss this stuff … should I just call it the “community approval process”? Is that more clear? Yeah, I think I’ll do that), as the Cubs are meeting with a variety of groups to discuss the renovation and community issues on an ongoing basis.

  • The biggest news to come out this week comes courtesy of Serena Dai at DNAinfo. Dai reports that, at a Lakeview Chamber of Commerce event yesterday, Chicago Cubs Chairman and Owner Tom Ricketts expressed confidence that this approval process isn’t going to prohibit the Cubs from starting the renovations in earnest after this season. That’s great news. “I think we have the support that we need to get through the proper steps to get started at some point at the end of this year,” Ricketts said in response to a question about what was blocking the renovation. “But that said, we greatly appreciate the support of everyone in this room if they have an opportunity to step up, come to a meeting, … support any way they can.” The goal has always been to start the new clubhouses and player facilities this offseason so that they could be in place for 2014. Assuredly, the Cubs would also like to be able to erect the JumboTron for the 2014 season, as well.
  • Dai’s piece also includes discussion of the outfield signage and rooftop situation, which remains generally positive.
  • There is some discussion of the Cubs hiring 270 Strategies, a consulting organization that helps political corporate entities campaign, and how their tactics aren’t making some of the rooftops too happy (the Cubs giving neighborhood folks tickets in exchange for showing up at meetings to speak positively about the renovation plan). Crain’s also has a fair bit more on 270 Strategies. To most of it I say: shrug. This is what political processes are like, and I’d rather see the Cubs playing the game the way it is played by everyone else than sit on their hands and hope folks simply see that the renovation is a good thing. (Politics … SMH … )
  • The Tribune has a write-up of the Cubs’ advertising requests outside of the ballpark, which are pretty extensive. It sounds like there will be ads adorning every corner of the hotel and plaza, at least in terms of what the Cubs are requesting (I’m starting to suspect they asked for more than they thought they could get). Then again, if you’ve walked around Wrigley, you know that the commercial areas are covered in large ads, earning money for everyone *except* the Cubs. I can understand why the Cubs feel like they should be able to participate in the ad game on their own property, given that the only reason those other folks’ ads generate revenue is because people are there to see the Cubs.
  • This falls into the “I don’t really want to give this any attention, but folks will discuss it, and I’ll look like an idiot if I don’t at least mention it” category, but Cicero, on the western edge of Chicago, has offered land and what-have-you to the Cubs if they move. Since the city made sure to publicize the offer in a press release (which, in part, refers to the “Rickett’s family”), this feels like little more than an attention grab. So, there. You have attention now.
  • A little more from the Sun-Times on what a community meeting on Monday looked like (lots of discussion of night game preparedness).
  • Al over at BCB analyzes some of the schematics of the formal renovation plans.
  • UPDATE: Some additional thoughts on one of the meetings in the comments below from BN’er Ross:

I was in attendance at the East Lakeview Neighbors meeting on Monday night. I have been attending a lot of these meetings over the past couple months. The big take away I had from this is the change in tone from Ald Tunney. Its seems like he is feeling the pressure from the Mayor (who wants this deal to get done soon, and mentioned it many times during the meeting). He spoke favorably about the Cubs plans multiple times (something he never did in the past). This is a very good thing as Ald Tunney sits on many of these Planned Development Boards and has a significant role in pushing these plans through the process.

Another take away, there was a much larger group of supporters of the Cubs plan in the room and seems like it well continue as a ground swell of small groups are making sure local Wrigley Field supporters are being heard at every meeting.

Mike Lufrano (Cubs VP of Community Affairs) also seemed to indicate that if these plans do not get pushed through the PD Process and approved by July (that time-table seems to be the earliest it would be approved given the number of groups who need to approve these plans) the chances of starting the work this offseason are bleak.

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

14 responses to “Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Confidence in Offseason Start Date Grows, Plus More Bits”

  1. DarthHater

    Hey, Al Capone escaped from Chicago to Cicero, so why not the Cubs? ;-)

  2. Austin

    I’m so sick of the rooftop owners. Ricketts has been far too nice to those people. They’ve been pirating a product for years, at little cost to them. They put no money into the maintenance of the stadium, have no work put into the day-to-day operations, and only give the organization a small percentage of their sales.

    They shouldn’t be able to take the organization hostage like they’re trying to, and I really hope that Ricketts uses his spine, and tells them to get bent if they continue to be road blocks in this process.

    It’s good for the Cubs organization, therefore it’s good for the majority Wrigleyville area. Utilitarianism is the greatest good for the greatest number. It’s time to practice this theory.

  3. Spriggs

    I’m glad to see the Cubs are using a consulting fee in this critical campaign. Also, not surprising. Once they decided to stay in Arizona, they needed to win public approval at the ballot box, and they employed Highground public affiairs consulting to do just that. They would very likely be in Florida now had they not done so.

    1. Spriggs

      *consulting firm*

      1. Cubbie Blues

        Oh, I’m sure there is a fee as well.

        1. Jp3

          Any word if SCDP is involved in the consulting?😁

  4. Jim

    I think that if the Cubs have to run everything they do past the rooftop owners and they get a stake in what they earn, those seats should be part of the paid attendance.

    1. JoeyCollins

      I was thinking the exact thing as i scrolled down to your comment.

  5. Ross Wallace

    I was in attendance at the East Lakeview Neighbors meeting on Monday night. I have been attending a lot of these meetings over the past couple months. The big take away I had from this is the change in tone from Ald Tunney. Its seems like he is feeling the pressure from the Mayor (who wants this deal to get done soon, and mentioned it many times during the meeting). He spoke favorably about the Cubs plans multiple times (something he never did in the past). This is a very good thing as Ald Tunney sits on many of these Planned Development Boards and has a significant role in pushing these plans through the process.

    Another take away, there was a much larger group of supporters of the Cubs plan in the room and seems like it well continue as a ground swell of small groups are making sure local Wrigley Field supporters are being heard at every meeting.

    Mike Lufrano (Cubs VP of Community Affairs) also seemed to indicate that if these plans do not get pushed through the PD Process and approved by July (that time-table seems to be the earliest it would be approved given the number of groups who need to approve these plans) the chances of starting the work this offseason are bleak.

  6. Wilbur

    Thanks to Brett, Ross, et al for getting the details out on the plan and the meeting surrounding it. Really is nice to have the facts versus distilled opinion.

  7. pete

    “I’ve gotta come up with a better way to discuss this stuff … should I just call it the “community approval process”? Is that more clear? Yeah, I think I’ll do that”

    Brett, may I suggest “community renovation approval process”, i.e., C.R.A.P.?

    1. DarthHater

      As the founder of A.S.S.F.A.R.T., I heartily approve of this suggestion.

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