Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Tunney Does Not Plan to Support the Cubs at Tomorrow’s Meeting

respect wrigleyAt 10am tomorrow morning, the Chicago Cubs will present the Wrigley Field renovation plans to the Landmarks Commission, a body charged with signing off on changes to certain landmarked aspects of Wrigley Field. The meeting was requested by the Cubs after a meeting between Chairman Tom Ricketts and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, at which the Mayor reportedly agreed to help the Cubs fast-track things. (This is fast?)

At tomorrow’s meeting, the Cubs will not be able to count on the support of the man who, together with the Mayor, signed off on a renovation framework designed to get the Cubs to agree that they will stay in Chicago at Wrigley Field. That man, Alderman Tom Tunney, has remained intransigent throughout the process, and, despite that framework, has designed to battle nearly every detail of the renovation process, itself. The battle is set to continue tomorrow morning.

In a letter sent to the Cubs on the eve of the Landmarks Commission meeting, and obtained by Crain’s Chicago, Tunney says he will not support the Cubs’ renovation plans until and unless the team agrees to five changes, some of which are significant:

1. The JumboTron in left field must be reduced in size from 6000 square feet to 3500.

2. The advertising sign in right field must be reduced in size from 1000 square feet to 600.

3. The proposed pedestrian bridge connecting the proposed hotel to the plaza west of the ballpark must be axed (Tunney doesn’t see the point; to which I’d say it reduces human congestion, and, let’s be honest, funnels more fans into the plaza).

4. The patio extending off of the hotel and over Patterson Street must be removed (too close to homes).

5. The proposed hotel lobby must be located on Addison Street or Clark Street, not Patterson Street (that’s a residential street).

You can read more about Tunney’s beef in the Crain’s piece, or in the Tribune’s take.

Although the tenor of Tunney’s position – “I will not support you unless you reduce what you want significantly” – is forceful, I’m not sure that anything he’s demanding is a surprise. To my mind, the biggest ones are the sizes of the JumboTron and advertising sign in right field, and he’s always maintained that the Cubs’ desired signage was too large. I don’t know that we’d yet heard he was going to formally oppose the Cubs’ plans on that basis, but I guess it makes sense that he would.

That said, I remain profoundly frustrated that the alderman charged with representing his citizens continues to kowtow to a small handful of interest groups at the expense of the largest economic driver in his ward. The Cubs want to erect signage in their own building. They’ve taken steps to minimize the impact that signage would have on anyone outside of the building, and it sounds like the impact will be negligible  Therefore … What. The. Eff. Let them freaking do what they want to do with their own building already.

Alderman Tunney is the Cubs’ alderman, too. Query whether he ever actually considers that when reflecting on his duties.

Sigh.

As I take a few steps back, I should remind you – and myself – that, even after the framework was agreed upon, everyone understood that the specific of the renovation might change as the process went along. The framework’s details were almost entirely made up of the things the Cubs wanted. Whether or not we feel like the Cubs should get everything they want, it was probably never going to happen that way. The Cubs may have to bend just a little bit more, even if that is facially absurd.

I guess we’ll see what happens tomorrow morning at the Landmarks Commission meeting. As I’ve pointed out before, the members of the Commission are appointed by the Mayor, though projects running through them usually have sign-off by the alderman whose ward is at issue.

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

98 responses to “Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Tunney Does Not Plan to Support the Cubs at Tomorrow’s Meeting”

  1. MichiganGoat

    MOOOOOOAAAAAARRRR -

  2. Rebuilding

    This is just posturing so he can throw up his hands and say he tried. Its what savvy politicians do – there really is no downside as the Cubs are going to get 90% of what they want anyway. The fact the Emmanuel is on board is all that matters. I will also say that I think his points 3, 4 and 5 actually have some merit *ducks*

    1. MichiganGoat

      GET BOYS HE’S THE ALDERMAN LACKEY ;)

  3. Austin

    Yea this is officially getting out of hand with the Alderman. He has probably personally written his own careers death certificate as a Chicago Alderman. I think most people in his Ward have realized he only cares about the rooftop owners and not the rest of the neighborhood.

    1. Rcleven

      Never ever underestimate the Democratic machine in Chicago. Not too many Dems get voted out of office.

  4. TonyP

    The renovation can’t get done fast enough for me…. So sick of Tunney and the Chicago political machine.

  5. TonyP

    5. The proposed hotel lobby must be located on Addison Street or Clark Street, not Patterson Street.

    What is the reasoning behind giving a rat ass where the lobby is located?????????

    1. Rebuilding

      Addison and Clark are more commercial streets while Patterson is more residential. I assume that’s the reasoning

      1. TonyP

        thanks, that makes sense….

    2. Pat

      Because you are going to have cabs pulling in and it all the time and potentially backups on the street. It this case he is using the word lobby to indicate the entrance. That one is perfectly reasonable and what most cities would require. Despite it being their own building, that doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want. I can’t put a 12 story addition on my house, despite the fact I own it.

      1. Eternal Pessimist

        The lobby is one of the few points I understand and agree with. What I don’t agree with is waiting one day before the presentation to piss and moan about it. I doubt they can re-engineer the plan overnight with the lobby on another street (though they might verbally agree to it).

        In Naperville they recently decided to go to a ward system, because it was tied into some other vote. Fortunately they voted it back out since these little fools run their territory like little kings without really looking at the big picture.

        1. Rebuilding

          I have no inside info, but I would imagine this was communicated to the Cubs some time ago. This is just for public consumption so that when some changes are made Tunney can sat “See, I did that”

      2. jj

        On lobby entrance, putting a hotel entrance on a major commercial street is problematic — it backs up the existing congestion as cars wait to pull up in front of the hotel. Putting it on the side street is actually the easier way to divert hotel traffic.

        1. Pat

          On a four lane street cars can still get by regardless. Not so on a side street.

          1. Boogens

            Just another circular logic thing. It’s a hard argument to make that a hotel with 175 guests will create too much street traffic while on the other hand recommending the removal of the bridge because it’ll serve only 175 people.

            On the surface, I can appreciate facing the lobby away from residential areas. Makes sense. I struggle with the removal of the bridge. It’s purely a political thing. I think Cubbie Blues nailed it on the head by saying the bridge directly funnels the guests into the Cubs plaza instead of the local bars & stores.

  6. Jason

    Get out of wrigley ASAP!!! I would be sick and tired of dealing with this crap.

  7. fearbobafett

    Here is my holding out the last of slim hope that they commision says no to almost everything the Cubs want and Ricketts finally gets his head out of his a$$ and treats this process like a ruthless business deal and moves the team, or goes back and at least says no you screwed us i will screw you back, and instead of doing this renovations in the off-season i will do them over the corse of a season and NOT play our games at commiskey, we will go up north to Milwaukee. See how you like NOT having us around to help drive your bars and rooftop business.

    They opperate like the cubs have zero options to hurt them here, they do. Read the writing on the wall, you rooftop owners can not afford to lose a year of income when your days are numbered as it is.

  8. jstraw

    Buddy, your spellcheck is a bitch. deigned/designed tenor/tenure

    Love ya though.

  9. JulioZuleta

    I know most people try to be politically correct, and Brett remains as neutral as one could possibly expect in his coverage but let’s be honest, how much more obvious could Tunney be? First, part of the deal was donating to some “charities” that Tunney is closely tied to. Now, beyond any shred of a doubt, he’s putting the interests of a few businesses (although not the Cubs) ahead of the overwhelming interests of his community. I wonder how long he can keep this up before Rahm just completely shuts him down.

    1. Rebuilding

      I think that’s already happened. It was a process, but with a few tweaks the Cubs are going to get most of what they want

      1. Rebuilding

        It’s very unusual for something to move forward in Chicago if the Ward’s Alderman opposes it. The fact that this is moving forward means Emmanuel told Tunney to posture all he wants but it’s happening anyway

        1. Boogens

          Great point, Rebuilding. I sincerely hope that you’re right.

  10. Oswego chris

    I can’t pretend to be an expert on any of this, and I am not sure how feasible a move realistically is…but I think the Ricketts family is being too nice…

    1. Luke

      I agree. I honestly think in any other city the powers that be would be overjoyed to have a team owner make an offer like the Cubs have made.

      Not Chicago.

      1. Die hard

        A better solution would be for the White Sox to agree to let Cubs play there in exchange for Cubs committing 100 million to a long term lease

        1. Luke

          Better for who?

          1. Die hard

            Everyone as their park is great and would quiet the issue… Would be good karma as Veeck involved with Cubs too

            1. Luke

              So by everyone you mean except Wrigleyville, because the loss of the Cubs would tank property values and suck a lot of cash out of the local business.

              And the city, because that drop in property value and loss of business will be felt in the city’s tax returns, not to mention the loss in value of Wrigley itself when it would inevitably be torn down.

              And the Mayor, whose political career would forever be summed up as “that guy who ran the Cubs out of Wrigley.”

              And the White Sox and Cubs, as they would now be trapped in a stadium sharing arrangement that has never worked well for any team.

              And the schedule makers for MLB for the same reason.

              But other than that, everyone?

              1. Die hard

                No I believe that property values go up if Wrigley replaced by College Campus say for U of I .. Bars will be frequented year round instead of summer and near vicinity available for students and this reduces traffic which helps greater vicinity

                1. MichiganGoat

                  Yeah cause nothing would make the Wrigleyville elite like a constant college presence of drunk students, a complete demolish of Wrigley, the building of a college “campus,” and the increased security needed… Oh and all this paid through public funding. Yeah that would be such a better solution than what the Cubs are offering and offer the neighborhood. Perfect solution.

                  1. Die hard

                    Ahem— isn’t there a proposal pending to use tax dollars for a private college? Would rather for state school… Also drunk college kids on a campus typically don’t get in their car and drive helter skelter on the Edens to get back to suburbs..

                    1. Luke

                      Wait… so you think there is room at Wrigley for a residential campus?

                      A commuter campus would barely fit, and then only if they made it fairly large multi-story tower. There is no way they could shoe horn a residential campus in that space.

                      And that means all the college kids would indeed be hopping in their cars to drive back to wherever.

                    2. MichiganGoat

                      Only in die hardian world does this make sense. Maybe they can fit in a technical school and that would bring in all the revenue that the neighborhood loses from the Cubs. This might be the worst solution die hard has ever imagined.

                  2. Oswego chris

                    Professor Ronnie Woo Woo…

                    College campus…hmmmm….

              2. Pat

                Tank them way down like the properties in East Lakeview?

        2. Rebuilding

          Got a laugh out of this one DH. The ribbon cutting ceremony to welcome the Cubs would be awkward. But yeah, this franchise needs some more Veeck karma

  11. Tom A.

    I know that Alderman Tunney is not reading anything appearing on this site. But, just in case he is — If you screw up the Cubs staying in the City of Chicago because of your greed, I know that many, many, many of my Chicago neighbors and friends will boycott everything Ann Sather and your four restaurants related and truly will work to ensure you are not elected for another term.

    Where is the Chicago Ethics Board on all of this ?

    How about a program like this: Cub fans unite and do not eat Ann Sather restaurant food and products !!!

    1. ChicagoDawg

      Agreed. Start the Facebook fan page , “Cub fans against Tunney”. As a fact the Ann Sathers restaurants are a failure. Belmont location will be closed by end of the year. He can’t get a liquor license because he works for the city so the crowds are shrinking.

  12. Blublud

    As a Cubs fan who could give 2 shits about the City of Chicago, I hope it gets struck down so the Cubs can move. Not just to the suburbs, but completely out of God awful state of Illinois. Make them all suffer. Charlotte needs a baseball team. We’ll happily except the Cubs here in NC and I guarantee they can get public funding. I can make the hour drive every weekend, and I won’t need them to build a hotel, I can stay at my mom’s house. It won’t happen, but it should.

    1. Scott

      What a nightmare. Cubs move to Charlotte. I’ve been there once and would only return if the cubs were there. Chicago is a great city.

      1. Die hard

        Ricketts knows when to hold and when to fold… This solution may create such a large loss that IRS may drop Klein conspiracy case too

    2. Cub Style

      Get you own baseball team! Take the White Sox!

  13. B Robs

    If I wrote my true feelings on Tunney, my comment would get deleted. He is such a remarkably objectionable fraud that he manages to be noteworthy in that regard among Chicago politicians. I sincerely hope that either Emanuel eradicates Tunney like the vermin that he is, or Ricketts moves the team.

  14. JB88

    I love Wrigley but at this point I almost hope the Cubs tell Rahm, Tunney and Wrigleyville “F you” and move to Rosemont.

  15. pondorotravis

    Dear Ald Looney Tunney,

    Get you head out of you A$$ and shut the hell up. This is the Cubs property, it’s money for the city and the more BS you shill the worse you look.

    Sincerely,

    All Cubs Fans (ps – most of your residents not named Murphy too)

  16. cubchymyst

    The images of the 6000 sq. ft jumbo tron looks huge compared to the rest of the stadium. When they had the black sheets up the Jumbotron looked twice the size of the outside walls. I wouldn’t mind seeing it reduced some. However, I don’t want to see it reduced because the city says so. I am tired of hearing the city (specifically Tunney) telling the Cubs how to fix there stadium.

  17. Eric S

    Time to Move! Tunney is going to be doing this forever as long as he’s the alderman. The only way to solve this issue is to go somewhere they are WANTED. Reducing the size of the jumbotron will decrease revenue. All to please the neighbors when they can go somewhere else and get ALL 81 games played at night, with the jumbotrons they want and even more bells and whistles they had to do without. If it’s going to be this hard there are people waiting with open arms.

    1. Internet Random

      “If it’s going to be this hard there are people waiting with open arms.”

      Where “people” equals “your mom”, and “arms” equals “legs”.

      Or…

      That’s what she said.

  18. Die hard

    Rearranging the chairs on the Titanic deck…. Unless the Cubs become a winner you can have 5 Jumbotrons and the seats will be just as empty …. But bring a winner to Wrigley and won’t need a Jumbotron …

  19. CubsFanSaxMan

    Back up the U-Haul. Let’s head for the burbs! Enough of this stuff.

  20. RoscoeVillageFan

    Chicago burbs blow. Threaten it if you want but I’ve been to enough suburban stadiums and its always an ordeal with half the stadium DUI. Tunney is a douche and I hope the cubs stick it to him. No reason to change any of the cubs plans, unless Tunney wants to pay for it.

  21. Jp3

    So Hendricks looked great again tonight. 8innings 5 hits no runs… Nice

  22. Smitty

    Brett,
    I love your work.

    That said, where is your normal disclaimer that some of the rooftops advertise on this site?
    Did they dump you, or are you dumping them?

    1. wax_eagle

      He doesn’t include it everywhere and it’s usually only on posts that are specifically about cubs v rooftops. Mentions of the rooftops in this piece are tangential.

  23. Cheryl

    This may only be the beginning of what Tunney wants. If the commission goes along with him and they well might and asks the cubs to submit a new plan Tunney will no doubt object to that too.

    Mr. Ricketts and family you’ve done your best with the city. Don’t embarrass yourselves by caving in to what Tunney wants. Start moving out to wherever you want. No one can fault you. MOVE!!!

    1. Die hard

      They have the White Sox phone no

  24. cubs2003

    Brett’s done an amazing job covering this whole process. You should be proud, man. Better than any major news outlet. If Rahm’s on board I think it’ll get done. Maybe a couple concessions so Tunney can save face.

  25. Serious Cubs Fan

    Tunney is a clown. If I’m ricketts, next election I’m writing a million dollar check in the pocket of his main competition. I realize he has a job to do, but he is completely unreasonable. I’m sick of the man’s demands on the Cubs.

    1. Rebuilding

      Tunney represents a very important constituency in Boys Town. Make no mistake he is an Emmanuel ally and this is all theatre

    2. Rich H

      That is what got him into this mess to begin with.

      1. Serious Cubs Fan

        I wouldn’t mind seeing something good old chicago politics with a big old check being written to the right people to get this renovation done. Sounds bad but that is honestly the cost of doing business in Illinois and chicago

      2. Serious Cubs Fan

        Actually if you look at how the Cell on the southside was built with public funding. Very shady my friend. Back door deals were made and lots of politics went into it

        1. Rich H

          I know I just meant political contributions started this whole mess.

    3. wax_eagle

      I’m actually a bit surprised there isn’t a recall effort already ongoing. This charade needs to end.

  26. George Altman

    I would have to think Ricketts/Cubs have gone thru their list of renovation actions that are ‘must-haves’ and/or have ‘walk-away’ numbers (e.g. night games, signage, etc.). I would certainly make sure (if I was Julian Green) that Mayor Rahm had that list, AND that it be made crystal clear to him they can spend their $500 million in DuPage or suburban Cook counties as well as the 41st Ward.

    Living in the Chicago area since the mid-70s, I have never believed or understood how or why people say or believe the Cubs and Wrigley Field are indissolubly linked. The shrinking attendance since 2011 tells me the opposite. I want a Cubs team that wins like today’s Blackhawk franchise and I don’t care if that’s in Wrigleyville, Rosemont, or Wheaton.

  27. Serious Cubs Fan

    Shit. I get scared everytime Gregg pitches. I’m scared his trade value will tank if he gives up run. Thats 2 homeruns given up in the last couple outings.

  28. JOE

    Just Louis V being Louis V… love it

  29. JOE

    Luis*

  30. ripitrizzo82

    Marmol esk mr gregg

    1. cubchymyst

      He didn’t walk anyone

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