respect wrigleyToday, the Zoning Committee unanimously approved the Wrigley Field renovation and development plan a day before it heads to the full City Council for a vote. But it did so only after a handful of changes.

The Mayor’s Office, in conjunction with Alderman Tom Tunney, announced (while the Committee meeting was going on) that the plan has been changed, such that a few of the issues with which Tunney has had a problem for a while now have been modified per his requests, according to the Tribune. (UPDATE: It now sounds like the Cubs agreed to the changes, and were included int he discussions.)

First, a pedestrian bridge that was to span Clark Street from the proposed hotel to the proposed plaza has been “deferred indefinitely,” which sounds like a nice way of saying it’s DOA. Tunney’s objection was couched as a matter of public safety, because apparently every bridge in the city near bars is subject to numerous random beer throwing events, but would seem to really be about not funneling Wrigleyville patrons into the Cubs’ plaza. Had that happened, those patrons would be more likely to spend money there, rather than the various local commercial establishments. I understand Tunney’s opposition, as well as the Cubs’ desire. Personally, I liked the bridge and would have found it convenient.

Second, the Mayor indicated that there will be a 10-year moratorium on new outfield signs, except for the two (the JumboTron in left and the large advertising sign in right) that have already been approved. Recall, the Master Sign Program, approved by the Landmarks Commission, would have allowed the Cubs to add additional signs, including on and around The Old Scoreboard.

Finally, the Cubs have agreed to defer the patio off of the hotel (which would have overhung residential Patterson Avenue), and the parties will continue to discuss where the entrance to the hotel will be. Alderman Tunney wants it on Addison or Clark, rather than Patterson. Presumably the Cubs would prefer to reserve that frontage for commercial space, rather than using it on a big hotel entrance. Once again, I understand where both sides are coming from.

Alderman Tunney, with these changes in place, reportedly now will sign on to the plan when it goes before City Council tomorrow.

So, where does this leave the renovation? Well, it sounds like, from Mayor Emanuel’s and Alderman Tunney’s perspectives, the deal is now done, and will be approved by City Council.

We haven’t yet, however, heard from the Cubs about these changes. It’s hard to tell from the Tribune’s report whether they’re on board, or if this was done unilaterally. The report says that the changes, and Tunney’s approval, came after a day of closed door meetings between the Alderman, the Mayor’s team, and the rooftop owners around Wrigley. That probably tells you everything you need to know about what’s driving the decisions in this process, but it also suggests that the rooftop owners – with a 10-year sign moratorium in place (which conveniently lasts until the end of their contract with the Cubs) – will no longer sue when the Cubs put up the two outfield signs. Obviously no one can guarantee that at this point, but it seems plausible, given how things have played out. The Mayor’s statement apparently suggests those negotiations are ongoing.

In that case, maybe the Cubs would be on board with these changes, if it avoids the risk of litigation. Indeed, the Sun-Times report on today’s events suggests that may well be what’s happening, though there remains work to be done on just where the sign in right field would be located (the Cubs may build an overhang all the way over Sheffield Avenue so that the sign would block no outfield views at all … but then there’s the issue of compensation to the City for taking additional air space. It sounds like that fight/discussion will not hold up approval of the overall plan, or hold up construction. But you never know.).

We’ll see what the Cubs’ response is, if they make a formal one, and then we’ll see what happens at City Council tomorrow.

UPDATE: The DNAinfo write-up makes it sound as though the Cubs are, indeed, on board with these changes. It does have a quote from Cubs VP of Communications and Community Affairs Julian Green, however, saying that the Cubs have received no assurances from the rooftops that they will not sue. So, to the extent that the sign moratorium was designed to prevent a lawsuit, that has not been directly negotiated with the Cubs.

UPDATE 2: Since today is all about updates … just a comment: I wouldn’t go so far as to say, as some of you are, that the Cubs “lost” in these negotiations. We don’t know how much the Cubs expected to get, and to what extent they “over asked” for various items. It’s possible that the process has landed right where the Cubs wanted it, even if they cannot concede that publicly. We’re not really in a position to know.

  • Tom A.

    If Cubs did not get what needed, they can walk !

    Tunney has proven to be a liar. His words mean nothing. I know he is a politician and honor is not important. However, he should know that now many of us know him to be a liar.

    This is not my nature to wish bad to happen, but it would not hurt my feelings to hear Ann Sather business drops off as Cubs fans avoid Tunney’s restaurants.

    Brett, I truly hope we never have to read his name and hear of his lies ever again. Not a nice person.

    • Michael

      Guess what Tom?

      The City Council is going to approve this deal tomorrow afternoon.

      The Cubs will remain at Wrigley.

      Mmmm…Ann Sather Cinnamon Roll sounds like an excellent choice tomorrow morning.

    • Eric

      Why would any reasonable person think the Cubs would or should walk away from the deal at this point? It’s ridiculous….

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I can’t stand how the cubs have to give and give and give. They bend for the city. Its ridiculous

  • Luke

    I’d not be surprised if three years from now Tunney is back in front of the City Council demanding that the Cubs build the pedestrian bridge they promised to build right this very minute so that all those pedestrians stop littering his residential street.

    But really puzzles me is the sign moratorium. Do we have the exact language on that? I can see the city wanting to block any signs that could interrupt sight lines, but any and all outfield signs? Sounds like a ban that could wind up costing the Cubs an eight digit figure in lost revenue over the life of the ban for no readily apparent purpose. I don’t see the upside for anyone on that, and I have a hard time believing that the Mayor or the Cubs would agree to inject changes just for the sake of making changes – especially when those changes cost both sides money (Cubs from revenue, City from taxes on that revenue).

    • Scotti

      If Tunney’s actions were altruistic perhaps he would want the bridge but he clearly doesn’t (and won’t) want the bridge because he wants those hotel customers (customers he and the bars do nothing to gain) to walk at street level where they will be more likely to enter one of the establishments that he holds a financial stake in.

      Re. Signage revenue… I don’t believe the city taxes ad revenue. Thus, not allowing more signage gives the city/Tunney/rooftops/bars leverage down the road.

  • Mr. B. Patient

    I guess the Cubs aren’t very good at negotiation. They pretty much gave the Rooftops what they wanted. Hope they don’t run into any emergencies in the future.

    • wax_eagle

      Unless they are horrendous at negotiation they are probably happy with the result. The first rule of negotiation is to overask by a lot and come down slowly.

      You add things to your plan that are easy to take out, will raise attention and that if you get them would be awesome, but they aren’t essential to your business going forward.

      A sure sign that you’re not negotiating well is a quick negotiation. A smaller scale, but let me give you an example, if you walk up to a vendor in a tourist town in mexico and ask the price of an object. They say: $40, if you offer back $25 and they agree right away you’ve been had. They overasked and ended up getting way more than they would have taken because of the overask. If instead you offer 15 and you go back and forth and end up at 25, then you’ve gotten something that will make you both happy.

      This is how negotation works. In this case the fact that the Cubs and Tunney have haggled back and forth several times likely means that they’ve reached something that they can all feel relatively good about.

  • B Robs

    Is it legal for me to contribute to Tunney’s opponent in the next election even though I don’t live in the area? Because I really, really want to do that.

  • Eric S

    Yes the pedestrian bridge is such a problem. Good idea getting rid of it…..NOT! You’re worried that fans will throw beer bottles onto cars from the bridge? Because this happens on the pedestrian bridges all the time in Vegas right? Oh it doesn’t? Well there goes that theory. As Brett said it’s just a way for Tunney to ensure that fans will not go from the hotel to the adjacent building across the street. Because if the Cubs can control the flow of foot traffic to areas they want, all vendors in the area will lose money as a result of the organization controlling what fans see and when they see it. Tunney has had this not so hidden agenda all along.

  • curt

    Total and complete bs, every time someone says the deal is done there’s more changes and more azz kissing why don’t the cubs just do this the easy way and have Tunney draw up the plans so nothing gets done and he can screw himself instead of the cubs , what a tool, and the mayor keeps saying its s done deal except he does nothing to curb Tunney grow a set Rahm , and I still don’t think the cubs should be putting up with this crap if ricketts would have made the threat to leave real this bs wouldn’t be happening, I. Love wrigley field but it’s not worth having to keep kissing everyone’s azz just so can spend yr own money. I honestly don’t know of a bigger cesspool of politics than Chicago .

  • Ikedavisnotthemet

    I’m surprised by the anger from some people. Maybe they aren’t Chicagoans and don’t realized this is how it works. It’s funny, I’m usually the pessimist over all things Cubs, but take a step back.

    1. A win for me as a taxpayer because the city is in horrible financial straits. I don’t want to pay for a DePaul stadium, but looks like we are. And yes it’s idiotic to pay for DePaul
    And not the Cubs. Look people, 2000 teachers got fired because the city can’t afford them (well, more the state’s fault). The cubs are staying at Wrigley. And we will pay for
    It with insane ticket prices. If they win? Fine.

    2. Tunney was bizarre in the whole process. His 2 faced style was disturbing. If people don’t like him, they will vote him out. And he slowed things down–yes he did. However, this process was remarkably fast by the “cesspool” as a poster said of Chicago standards. Tunney’e motivates may never be known. I’ll always admire the vast work he has done in the gay community. As for Wrigley? It’s just about down.

    3. As to the rooftops? I can’t stand them or the owners. Is it Ricketts fault the Trib a) didn’t buy them? B) signed a terrible deal with them (well, crane might be to blame some). These people steal plain and simple. But, 10 years from now the Cubs can put up Budweiser Wind Screens and block them. Hopefully no suit. Theives.

    4. The cubs had wanted to do this in 3 years. It takes 5. Ok. They got just about everything they wanted. Ever been out to the Cell? Their diamond visions are like a 20 inch tube TV. Fireworks are ludicrious during the Day. You want loud? Game 7 ’03 Kerry Wood’d HR…that’stje sound we need. They got signs inside, on the plaza, a hotel, new Player
    Facilities, and it course a bigger team store.

    5. captain Morgan bugs me. He isn’t going away. I’ll deal.

    6. Really a bridge? They easily could
    Have solved the beer issue by covering it up. This isn’t exactly losing your best player to the braves in 1992. It’s a joke.

    7. My focus will be on the timetable of spending money. Will Ricketts invest or the debt a bigger issue/paying off the stadium? Will theo get his chance to sign big names again?
    Will Crane do something stupid?

    8. I thank Ricketts, Theo, Crane, Julian Green, and Mike Lufrano (sp?) for going at this well. Patience and caring.

    9. Move on. Really. There is cool stuff in Boise. Daytona. west tenn. maybe even Junior Lake.

    10. Unless the roof tops sue.

  • Kevin

    “Tunney encouraged the Cubs and rooftop owners to continue negotiations going forward.”

    You have got to be kidding me!

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