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respect wrigleyI had planned to have an update on last night’s rally by neighbors who have concerns about the Cubs’ plans to develop outside of Wrigley Field, but it sounds like it was a relatively quiet affair. Tom Tunney, the Alderman of the ward in which Wrigley Field sits, was in attendance, and he continues to be a major part of the renovation story.

Today at 11am CT, the Chicago Plan Commission began the meeting that will pass upon the Cubs’ comprehensive renovation plan, and the step is not expected to represent a significant hurdle in the approval process. That doesn’t mean the day will go without fireworks, as Alderman Tunney reportedly plans to continue opposing the Cubs’ renovation plans, at least until his list of demands are met. Those demands have included:

  1. The proposed pedestrian bridge connecting the proposed hotel to the plaza west of the ballpark must be axed (Tunney doesn’t see the point in the bridge, and believes it could be a safety issue if you’ve got folks drinking or drunk on the bridge).
  2. The patio extending off of the hotel and over Patterson Street must be removed (too close to homes).
  3. The proposed hotel lobby must be located on Addison Street or Clark Street, not Patterson Street (because Patterson is a residential street).

According to the Sun-Times and the Tribune, Alderman Tunney has added an additional demand to his previous list (which included a reduction in the size of the outfield signage – a demand that he kind of got, even though he wasn’t happy about the scope of the reduction): a moratorium on additional outfield signs, beyond the two big ones, for 10 years. This demand, from Tunney’s perspective, is completely understandable. The Cubs’ contract with the rooftops runs just about another 10 years, and, with two signs going up in the outfield that don’t completely block any views, Tunney wants to make sure that no additional signs are put up to block views during the remainder of the contract.

Now, I’m saying only that the request from his perspective is understandable, not necessarily a good thing. When the Landmarks Commission approved various changes to Wrigley Field, it also approved a “Master Sign Plan,” in which the Cubs asked for everything under the sun as a possible future sign. The Cubs were simply protecting themselves in the event that they needed/wanted to add more signage in the future, and didn’t want to have to go through the same painful political rigmarole. I believe the Cubs when they say they aren’t itching to add a ton of new signs along the outfield wall or on The Old Scoreboard – the Cubs have an interest in preserving the beauty of Wrigley, and balancing that against the need for additional revenue. The key here is that the Cubs want options. They don’t want artificial restrictions. A sign moratorium would be just such an artificial restriction, and I think it’s fair if they fight it. The Cubs do have a contract with the rooftop partners, and I don’t think the Cubs’ immediate intention is to block them out of existence – just look at the lengths the Cubs are going to in order minimize the impact of the two new outfield signs.

According to those Sun-Times and Tribune reports, Tunney plans to fight the Mayor on the floor of City Council if his demands aren’t met. He has even starting rallying other aldermen to oppose the project, explaining that the local alderman should know what is best for his ward. Setting aside the fact that a $500 million, privately-funded project to renovate and improve one of the most important tourist destinations in Chicago reaches far, far beyond the best interests of his ward, I still have trouble wrapping around how Tunney believes this particular approach is best for his ward.

In my most head-tilting, incredulous voice: you want to kill a $500 million, privately-funded development project for your ward because of a pedestrian bridge? Really? You want to expend political capital fighting a widely popular $500 million, privately-funded development project for your ward because of a hotel entrance? Seriously? You want to actively solicit other aldermen to join you in opposing the Mayor on a $500 million, privately-funded development project that looks like a major victory for the Mayor because of the potential of a couple more signs inside a ballpark? For real?

Perhaps I’m unfairly framing things, but that all just sounds crazy to me. It’s becoming increasingly plausible to wonder whether Tunney has decided that he’s going to lose this fight no matter what, and has made the political calculation that it’s worth more to him to oppose the Mayor (and lose) than to work collaboratively with the Cubs.

For what it’s worth, this could all be a part of the negotiation dance, too. The Sun-Times report suggests that the Cubs have agreed to remove the patio that extends off from the hotel (item 2), and will consider moving the hotel entrance (item 3). Those are additional concessions Tunney can now claim that his hardball tactics helped him secure. I’m not so sure he’ll get his way on the bridge or the sign moratorium, though, and that’s when we’ll see how far he’s willing to go in this fight.

  • hansman1982

    “has made the political calculation that it’s worth more to him to oppose the Mayor (and lose)”

    This. Political posturing so he can run as the guy who fights hard for the district.

    • JR

      Is the fix in? Does Tunney have a side deal with the “bleacher committee” that has some private funding of its own going on?

  • Tommy

    To me, I could be wrong, but the point of the bridge is to prevent guests of the hotel from jaywalking across Clark to get to the stadium, so in theory, wouldn’t the bridge actually be safer than not having it. All you have to do is make sure the bridge is enclosed and that alleviates all worries that Tunney has about drunk people falling over it/throwing things onto passing cars

    • Webb

      Has he never been to Las Vegas? I mean, seriously.

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      I live in Vegas now(just off the strip) and I can tell you that Tunney has gone insaine. Wrigleyville has never and could never resemble anything that looks like the strip.(other then the amount of people walking) So we put up a bridge that connects the hotel to Wrigley and your one worry is drunks throwing objects off the bridge? Like Tommy said, if you’re really worried about cars getting hit by bottles and cans, enclose the bridge.

      To be honest though I think it’s completely ridiculous. Vegas has plenty of the same bridges we want to build and none of them are enclosed. There are more drunks in Vegas then there are in Wrigleyville,(during a game) and you never see them tossing their crap off the bridges. Tunney is just reaching at this point.

      • CubsFaninMS

        Here comes Tunney-Boo-Boo. Sounds like he’s pitching a fit. The Rickets family better redneckanize.

  • DarthHater

    Compromising on the patio and the hotel entrance makes sense. Regarding the bridge, Tunney’s view is silly. Are we supposed to buy the notion that it would be better to have more drunks staggering across Clark Street, rather than safely above it? The signage issue is a dollars-and-cents risk assessment issue, so I’d be satisfied with whatever position the Cubs’ bean counters decide to take.

    • hansman1982

      Non-sense, the Cubs plan is to just have a concrete slab haning, cock-eyed, over the street. What is also in there is they plan on letting Cards fan stay there for free…

      • DarthHater

        How about a special courtesy bridge, reserved for our guests from St. Louis, that only extends halfway across Clark and then suddenly stops? :-D

        • hansman1982

          To make it easier for them to get “to the ballpark” we could install a moving sidewalk on that bridge.

          • Camiata2

            And copious amounts of John Deere parking. Don’t forget that.

            • hansman1982

              You gotta problem with John Deere? Huh, red-boy? /snark

          • MoneyBoy

            That ONLY goes in reverse …

        • Dawn Strand

          Bwah ha ha! ;)

  • Spencer

    Honestly, that list of three demands up there are probably some of the most reasonable we’ve seen throughout this entire process. I’m not saying that Tunney should fight to derail the entire project, but those are relatively small things that the Cubs could easily acquiesce to changing or complying with. It may even make the rest of the process go a bit smoother if they did so.

    The moratorium on signs is interesting. Ten years seems like a long time to me.

    • DarthHater

      After watching the All -Star game and being appalled by the signage at Citi Field, I am now torn between thinking the Cubs should try to get as much signage as possible and thinking they should at all costs not let Wrigley evolve toward becoming such a monstrosity.

  • King Jeff

    Has there been even one step to this whole process that Tunney hasn’t been opposed to? Does anything get done in this guys ward?

    • hansman1982

      Of course it does, just so long as you donate enough to “charities” of his choosing.

  • demz

    This is so silly.

  • Section503

    THIS THIS THIS

    “In my most head-tilting, incredulous voice: you want to kill a $500 million, privately-funded development project for your ward because of a pedestrian bridge? Really? You want to expend political capital fighting a widely popular $500 million, privately-funded development project for your ward because of a hotel entrance? Seriously? You want to actively solicit other aldermen to join you in opposing the Mayor on a $500 million, privately-funded development project that looks like a major victory for the Mayor because of the potential of a couple more signs inside a ballpark? For real?”

  • Spoda17

    There is so much wrong with this entire thing it’s like a TV show it is so unbelievable. It may as well be a Disney Pixar film. I just can’t get past the arrogance of these people to DEMAND a business on how to operate… especially when they have been profiting off of a free product for years! When they start paying player’s salary, then maybe I would care (albeit very briefly) about their demands… this is so effed up…

    • Nick

      The residents aren’t making demands, we are making requests based on the cubs proposals. I have paid 11 years’ worth of season tickets towards players salaries and not profited a dime from that, so I’m guessing you are talking about the rooftops making a profit. The homeowners on Patterson are making reasonable requests about the details of a hotel that is not currently able to be built the way the cubs want based the current zoning laws. In order to change the zoning, I do not think those three requests are unreasonable.

  • MichiganGoat

    From last night tweets I got from a few people on both sides one of the issues is a zoning law that says no building can be higher than 50ft (hotel is proposed at 90ft) and that external neon signs are not allowed. Can anyone confirm or give greater insight about these issues?

    • Nick

      Yes, the current zoning for the proposed hotel property only allows for 50ft. In order for the cubs to build a 90ft hotel (and change the zoning), I think the 3 things listed are reasonable requests. This is as a 11-year season ticket holder and homeowner on Patterson.

      • wvcubsfan

        Why the bridge? The other two I can understand.

        Also if the issues were brought to the table like you just did instead of I’m Tunney and the Cubs will bow to my presence or I will never let them spend any of their own money on a building they own because I’m the all powerful Alderman then the attitude of those that aren’t close to the situation might think differently.

      • MichiganGoat

        Thanks Nick, for those of us outside of Wrigleyville I would really like to hear a honest, rational, and serious arguement from you (I’m assuming you’re part of last nights “rally” or at least a supporter) about all the points you are against and why the Cubs should seriously listen.

        This is not a ploy or bait to start a war because I think we’ve missed out on some of the truth through all the political posturing that has been going on through this process. If you have the time please write what you can and maybe even contact Brett so we can have real and honest view from the neighborhood. Thanks.

        • aCubsFan

          I think it is tough to get a consensus view of the neighborhood because there isn’t a consensus. From reports there were only 100 people at the rally protesting the renovation, while there were 20 people supporting the renovation. And there was a mix of opinions this morning on WGN.

          I completely understand the woman’s concern that a loading dock at Wrigley will be just 50 feet from her home, but where have the deliveries been going for the previous 100 years? Furthermore, if you go into the suburbs or even in other neighborhoods of Chicago manufacturing, commercial, and retail deliveries within 50 feet or closer to homes. With the rooftop owners in the neighborhood they have to receive deliveries of food stuffs and those trucks typically park closer then those at Wrigley, so she can’t complain too much.

        • Nick

          Honestly the only points I am against are the details of the hotel. I fully support the cubs doing whatever they want inside the park, expanding night games, ads, video board and all of that. I’m even okay with additional events around the park. I have lived in the area for 15+ years, owning for the last 6 and the last year bought a place on Patterson that is directly impacted by the hotel. Since you are not from the area, I’m guessing that you aren’t really aware of Patterson, since I wasn’t until a year ago when I bought on the street. It is currently pretty quiet on game days, maybe a couple hundred people walk down it total before and after games (as opposed to thousands on Waveland and Addison, which are on either side of Patterson.

          I am actually also for the hotel in general. There are not a lot of quality hotels from Lakeview to the gold coast, so a nice one would be good for the area. I have been in meetings with the cubs (Tunney was also there). These items around the hotel were brought up months ago in a non-confrontational way and the cubs said they would get back to us. We haven’t heard a thing, so really the only thing to get these points talked about are by Tunney going to the media with them.

          Patterson is a quiet one-way east street. If you put the hotel lobby and parking entrance at the end of it, that means that we are probably going to have to turn the street into a cul-de-sac, to avoid additional car traffic using our street to get to hotel. That means turning it into a 2-way street and losing 1/2 of the parking we have (doesn’t imact me and my wife since we are a 1 car family, that has a garage spot, which we only use for our personal vehicle, but it does impact our guests on non-cubs game days). An entrace on Addison would correct that (I get that the cubs don’t want it on Clark, since they would lose street facing commercial property).

          I also don’t see the point of the bridge as the cubs have said its for moving hotel guests to the new office building that will be on the triangle lot. Why build a bridge for 150 hotel guests. People do not currently get to the game by using Patterson, so why would they use a bridge that is out of their way?

          The patio and bridge are really tied together from the plans I’ve seen from the cubs, so those go hand in hand.

          In general I support everything the cubs are doing (including changing the zoning for the hotel) and we are just seeking items that we think will keep our street similar to it is today.

          • MichiganGoat

            Nick thank you and I agree moving the entrance off Patterson is a goo decision and one I think will be easy for the Cubs to agree.

            • Nick

              I wish I could share your optimism on the cubs making that change. The latest I’ve heard is that they will move the underground parking entrance from Patterson to Addison, but will keep the actual hotel lobby entrance and cab/drop off spot on Patterson (inlcuding the bridge and patio right at the end of Patterson).

              I don’t think that many people wouldn’t want reasonable changes to plans in exchange for a zoning change right next to their house.

      • Josh

        I agree with the entrance and patio location. Make them come in and out of Clark and/or Addison. Make the patio face south, where there’s a view. Those are fine and understandable, but I don’t see the purpose of opposing the bridge. As I already posted, they work just fine in Vegas.

  • Tom A.

    Start canceling rooftop events or don’t use a rooftop. Stop drinking at Murphy’s. Do tell those owners that is because Tunney is a fool and acting as such. When he stops getting kick-backs, he will stop being a fool.

    P.S. Stop buying Ann. Sather cinnamon rolls too !

    • Tommy

      But those cinnamon rolls are just so dang good!!!

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        They really are …

        • Tom A.

          Of course they are really good, but give them up everyone for a short time !

          It will be your sacrifice for the Cubs and Wrigleyville improvement.

          • caryatid62

            Nope.

  • cubsfanforever

    MOVE…. This is all such BS

  • Cheryl

    I hate to say it (It’s not in the best interests of Chicago) but I think Tunney will convince the other aldermen that this is a matter that affects them, that if a project can goo ahead over the objections of an aldermen representing the district concerned that it could happen to them too. He will frame it as a direct attack on the power that they wield in their wards. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think the vote will favor the mayor or Ricketts.

    • Jim L.

      I can’t remember the last the time the Rubber Stamp, excuse me, City Council went against a mayor’s wishes.

  • Kevin

    The Cubs are not only handcuffed by Tunney today but will be for a long time. Can the Cubs run their business in a way to maximize revenues under these circumstances without Tunney stopping every request without a green handshake? The Ricketts are trying to keep the charm of Wrigleyville but Tunney has already agreed to tear down buildings around Wrigley Field and replace them with new buildings lacking the Wrigleyville charm. .

  • DrReiCow

    Brett,

    Do the rooftops still advertise on your site?

    Moo.

  • Josh

    Has Tunney never been to Vegas?? There’s bridges over Las Vegas Blvd, as well as all the other major crossroads. I lived there for 5 years, and I never heard about an issue from drunks on the bridges….and I’m pretty sure there were plenty of them out there (me included).

    • Bricklayer

      He doesn’t have to go to Vegas, there are pedestrian bridges over Lake Shore Drive. If there have been issues, they are not well reported.

    • aCubsFan

      The Las Vegas argument was brought up this morning on WGN when they were discussing the Tunney protest.

  • mudge

    Tunney is Diehard.

  • Jody

    The next thing you know he’s going to be asking for football helmets filled with cottage cheese and nude pictures of Bea Arthur. The ultimate goal here is for the Cubs to win a WS and if they need to piss off the neighbors and make the stadium look like the back of a hippy’s car then so be it.

  • Fishin Phil

    ” he’s going to be asking for football helmets filled with cottage cheese and nude pictures of Bea Arthur. ”

    Well, I’m not sharing mine!

    • cubchymyst

      Nice Airheads reference

  • caryatid62

    Seems like a pretty suave PR strategy, if you ask me.

    1. Make sure the local media thinks (and conveys to the public) that you’re playing “hardball.”
    2. Threaten to block the entire thing unless you are negotiated with
    3. Have some relatively reasonable negotiating demands
    4. When you only get the reasonable demands and are denied the more ostentatious demands, you can both sell “I fought hard, but that mean nasty mayor and big business were just too much!” as well as “look at what I WAS able to do for you!”

    Tunney will come out of this as the bad guy here on these boards, but will likely appeal to the most vociferous of his constitutents.

  • baldtaxguy

    His items 1-3 appear to be tweakable such that they can still happen and he can waive a sword and claim “Victory Today Is Mine”, or some other crap so he can get re-elected and appear relevant.

    But the moratorium on the signage seems to be a non-starter given The Rahm’s sign of the cross over this whole deal. I assume this inevitably fails (?) and Tunney not looking so hot on this point in the eyes of his fans and his peers. Unless there is something he can gain from this (?), why would he suggest that –

    “…oh yeah, that cool signage thingy you guys won planning commission approval for and agreed with the Mayor on, and that I reduced the size of, and that will bring you all sorts of revenue…yeah, …um…now…guess what….you can’t do it for 10 years….”

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Believe the moratorium is on signs beyond the two big ones.

  • DALEARES

    Tom… say goodbye b4 its too late … This is a precursor of the future.

  • caryatid62

    Interesting post from Rob Neyer just now (who I don’t think anyone would consider a traditionalist or anti-intellectual) about stadiums. Just another point-of-view to throw into the hopper:

    http://www.baseballnation.com/2013/7/18/4533960/mets-citi-field-review-eras-ballpark-design

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s a very interesting read, so long as we recognize that it bears no relationship to what is happening at Wrigley Field. :)

      Citi Field has always looked to me like it went way too far overboard with the “other” stuff. In that regard, all good points from Neyer. But I don’t think he’d have any beef with the – relatively speaking – extremely tasteful pieces the Cubs want to add to Wrigley.

      • hansman1982

        He isn’t talking about Wrigley as noted in his final paragraph:

        “maybe there was never any reasonable hope of resisting the impulse to suck every last short-term dollar out of these *publicly financed* stadiums.”

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I know Neyer wasn’t talking about Wrigley …

  • mudge

    follow the tunney.

  • Funn Dave

    “In my most head-tilting, incredulous voice: you want to kill a $500 million, privately-funded development project for your ward because of a pedestrian bridge? Really? You want to expend political capital fighting a widely popular $500 million, privately-funded development project for your ward because of a hotel entrance? Seriously? You want to actively solicit other aldermen to join you in opposing the Mayor on a $500 million, privately-funded development project that looks like a major victory for the Mayor because of the potential of a couple more signs inside a ballpark? For real?”

    Yes, I’d say you’re unfairly phrasing things just a bit. He doesn’t want to kill the project. He just wants to go about the project in a manner that won’t lead to any safety or zoning issues. Great article, though, up until that point.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Strictly speaking, he’s asking his colleagues to vote against the plan because of the reasons enumerated. Not to argue with myself, but on that aspect of it, I don’t think I’m being unfair.

      (I’m just being a little hyperbolic.)

      • Funn Dave

        Right on. That’s understandable.

      • Jono

        you’re being completely fair and honest. People just need to sugar coat the issue in order to defend his actions. If there were zoning violations, you know, a legal issues, those would be taken care of. No need to stop the plan

    • BT

      You’re dreaming Dave. If every one of those concerns were met, Tunney would find another gaggle of niggling problems that would make the project untenable. I think that’s really Brett’s point (though I don’t want to speak out of turn). Tunney is finding reasons, no matter how trivial, to justify his objections.

      • Jono

        exactly. He’s resisting a $500 million dollar, privately funded investment into his ward. It’s insane that anyone in that area is able to defend him

  • Fishin Phil

    I need a Lukewarm Stove, and I need it now!

  • curt

    Tunney=dousche bag , give him nothing and tell him to like it , the cubs have bent until til it hurts enough already make a stand.

  • chrisfchi

    I’ll be happy if after the jumbotron is installed, they get rid of the LED board in the RF bleachers and open that seating back up (also some signs are cool, but let’s not turn it into a circus)

    • Mr. Brent Kennedy

      I think the RF LED board will compliment, aesthetically speaking, the Video board that will be constructed in LF. Only having one sign to the left of home plate bothers me (though I understand its positioning is for tv broadcasts).

      • Funn Dave

        *complement

        –BN Grammar Douchebag

        • ETS

          Maybe he meant the RF board will flash across it things like, “Hey check out our really good looking LF video board!”

          • Mr. Brent Kennedy

            Can it be both!?

          • Funn Dave

            Haha I hope so. “LF video board, I love what you’ve done with your hair!”

      • chrisfchi

        I don’t like it. Personally, having the extra seating that’s handicap accessible would be awesome, I would like to be able to bring my brother back to the yard with me.

  • auggie1955

    We have walk overs on LSD by Soldier Field and by the North Ave Beach. I never read about people throwing their beer onto cars from those walk overs. All Tunney is concerned about it the fact that the existence of a walk over would allow fans to enter and exit the game without passing by Cubby Bear lounge and other bars.

    • Funn Dave

      Huh, thanks for that perspective. I hadn’t thought about that aspect of why he might be against the walkway. However, if true, then it’s something to think about: the bar owners obviously don’t want to lose business, and it’s their alderman’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

      And just to be clear, I’m not defending Tunney here; I don’t live in Chicago and I know nothing about the guy. I just think it’s important to look at both sides perspectives before we dismiss one side as simply politicking.

  • cavemencubbie

    I understand Nick’s concerns about making Patterson a two way street. I’m surprised he is not more concerned about the height of the hotel. Who wants to live in a perpetual shadow? That said, could anything built be worse looking than a mIckey D parking lot?

  • Die hard

    A TRO followed by TI followed by a PI is my prediction

    • DarthHater

      A FFL followed by a PVS is my prediction.

      • chrisfchi

        An ABC, followed by def, and maybe ghi is cool too.

        • Die hard

          And plenty of 0000000000s after the $1 to indicate what it will cost Cubs in defending this baseless transparent attempt to nullify a valid agreement in the event the Court refuses to do so but instead sets matter for trial because damages are adequate— Cubs may pray for a TROTIPI instead of paying a court approved monetary settlement or ordered judgment

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