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respect wrigleyOn the heels of renewed “leaving Chicago” reports, there is word that Chicago Cubs Owner and Chairman Tom Ricketts has recently met with Mayor Rahm Emanuel about the Wrigley Field renovation project and … it was a boring, productive meeting. Whew.

Crain’s Greg Hinz reports that Ricketts and the Mayor met at City Hall on Tuesday – in a meeting that was purportedly scheduled before that DuPage County hullaballoo broke – to discuss the renovation. Hinz called the meeting cordial, and without much excitement. (That’s a good thing.)

The meat of Hinz’s report, however, was his note that the two men agreed that the rest of the renovation approvals for the Wrigley Field portion (i.e., the stuff in the stadium, itself, as opposed to the plaza and the hotel) should be “fast tracked.” The goal would be to have City Council approval in place before that body breaks for the Summer, which Hinz said would come well before Labor Day. To my mind, that isn’t really a “fast” track – it’s the track the Cubs were likely expecting all along. But whatever.

Hopefully that time line would be what the Cubs require to get started on the work as soon as the season ends, with an eye toward having the player facilities improvements completed in time for the 2014 season. You can freely assume that the outfield signage, because of its value to the organization financially, is also a priority for 2014.

Hinz’s report also gets into some inside dish on Alderman Tom Tunney, so it’s worth a read. The short version is that it’s unclear just how on board he is with the renovation (even after agreeing to the framework that all sides are trying to implement now). That makes me wonder if Ricketts’ meeting with the Mayor was about Mr. Tunney, himself, and about how the Cubs don’t want any more surprises as the renovation pieces are placed before City Council for approval. The Mayor has all of the necessary clout, obviously, but City projects run through the alderman of the ward in question. Tunney has to be involved. That’s just the way it is.

Speaking of the DuPage County report from yesterday – a representative says the Cubs are unhappy with the process in Chicago, and have asked for presentations about moving elsewhere – a report today from the Tribune has that representative, County Chairman Dan Cronin, walking things back a bit. He does not expect the Cubs to leave Chicago, but simply doesn’t want to be kicking himself for not making an offer if the “what-if” situation happens.

  • DarthHater

    Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch is obsessive.

  • caryatid62

    And here lies the problem with getting too caught up with the “obsessive” part of the Obessive Cubs Renovation Watch. Brett is providing great information, but about 90% of it is political posturing (both on the Cubs’ part as well as the mayor’s, alderman’s, etc.). What is unequivocally true: The renovation is happening, it’s on course, and there will be more “controlled leaks” from both sides in the coming weeks. That’s just the way it goes.

    And while it’s painful and annoying, as a taxpayer, I’d MUCH rather it go too far in the “overly bureaucratic” direction than what has happened in Miami. If it’s going to go in an annoying direction, this one is preferable.

    • bbmoney

      I don’t think there is any chance this goes in the Miami direction…..unless public bonds start getting issued…..

    • Scotti

      As a taxpayer, I’d much rather the Ricketts family get to spend their money on their business the way they would like. Of course, that WOULD happen in virtually ANY other city in America–including the Chicago burbs…

  • Cheryl

    I’m not so sure about this going through without any more “surprises.” The main reason is Tunney. I wonder how much control he has over the whole process? It almost seems like the wards, hence Tunney, will control this process rather than the mayor. If that’s the case the question is – Could it still be derailed?

    • Die hard

      If Rupert Murdochs soon to be ex is a baseball fan her soon to be new found wealth could be welcome infusion of cash if Ricketts wants a partner…stranger things have happened.. and could be ok’d by MLB as expanding international footprint especially if she’s awarded part of his media empire

  • Tom A.

    Alderman Tunney must be absolutely loving all this publicity on his tough representation of his ward’s interests. It is all fake. I really don’t buy his game, simply does not smell right to me.

    Just remember, he is a business owner and also likely benefiting by all of his politics.

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