BOOM: City Council Approves the Wrigley Field Renovation and Development Plan (But … )

respect wrigleyFirst, the very good news: the final public hurdle in approving the renovation plan for Wrigley Field and the development of the surrounding area – a $500 million, privately-funded project – was cleared today. City Council just approved the plan – following a colorful set of remarks from Alderman Tom Tunney, which I imagine will be covered at some point – and the Cubs now have the green light to proceed with the renovations as soon as the season ends. Getting this approval has been hard fought, and offers at least a little bit of relief.

That said, it wouldn’t be a Wrigley renovation update without some kind of “howeva.” In this instance, the howeva is that there are still issues to work through, in terms of implementing what was just approved.

As Cubs VP of Communication and Community Affairs Julian Green told Crain’s Danny Ecker, “As outlined [yesterday at the Zoning Committee meeting], we are deferring three development issues in order to discuss alternative solutions. We also need to resolve all outstanding issues with the rooftops and amend the night game ordinance so as not to conflict with Major League Baseball’s national television contract. We look forward to resolving these and other open issues from the announced April framework in order to finally make plans to break ground on our renovation of Wrigley Field and construction of the plaza and hotel.”

In other words, it sounds like the Cubs will be reluctant to actually implement the initial stages of the now-approved plan until they know the rooftops aren’t going to sue, and know how the sign in right field – the one that might be overhanging Sheffield Avenue – is going to be implemented. They also remain unhappy about some last minute changes in the night game ordinance. Understandably, the Cubs will not want to start writing any checks until they know precisely what is going to happen, particularly with the rooftops. There will undoubtedly be more written about this very soon.

Back to today’s approval …

Given how the process has gone, and the fact that, strictly speaking, there are still things to do, it’s hard to completely celebrate today. I do think the renovation and development are huge for the future of the organization, but until the final brick is laid, it’s hard to really let it all go. With so many interconnected and intensely complicated issues constantly swirling around the renovation (some of which still require resolution), we’ll have to settle for a measured, “Today is a good day.”

To that end, let us “celebrate” this big moment in the manner to which you’ve become accustomed: a GIF party. Given his unique disaffection for government bureaucracy (and the fact that the man who portrays him, Nick Offerman, is a big Cubs fan), I can think of no one better than Ron Swanson to walk us through our feelings in the Wrigley renovation approval process.

For most of the last six months, although we’ve been hopeful and excited at times, mostly we’ve been frustrated. Something like this:

When the Cubs came to an “agreement” with the Mayor and Alderman Tunney on a “framework” for the renovation, we were tentatively happy:

And when the Cubs finally got their night game ordinance, and it looked like the remaining steps would go relatively smoothly, we started to get happier:

But then the fighting continued – with Tunney, with the rooftops, with the neighborhood – and, even if the Cubs wouldn’t say it, this is how we were feeling:

Today, City Council approved the Cubs’ plan, which at least merits a short, celebratory gesture:

Although today is a good day, and the final public hurdle has been cleared, I’m not sure we’ll ever quite get to this:

But, yeah. Today is a good day. I’m going to do my best to dance.

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

34 responses to “BOOM: City Council Approves the Wrigley Field Renovation and Development Plan (But … )”

  1. Rich

    GREAT! love the gif’s ( is that GIFF or JIFF? )

    1. dash

      It’s ‘JIFF’.

      1. Papi

        Its a soft G like Jogging

  2. Sandberg

    Meh. Cubs shouldn’t let themselves be bent over the way they have been.

  3. jh03

    Justin Grimm is on MLBN radio, if anybody wants to listen..

    1. jh03

      Interesting… Grimm is giving a strong impression that he’s only in Iowa for a short period of time. Saying that he hasn’t pitched for a week and a half due to stiffness (I think that’s what he said), and he just needs to work the rust off.

      1. jh03

        Also said he saw he was included in the deal over the internet… ouch.

        Interview is over.. not a lot of interesting info, other than that impression he gave.

      2. Jason P

        Thanks for the info. I hope they do keep him down there longer than a week to work on his changeup. If they bring him up right away, they’re basically saying they’re set on him being a long-term swing man Villanueva type, which would be disappointing with his 91-94 fastball and plus control (or at least what was thought of as plus control coming up through the Rangers system).

  4. MichiganGoat

    Really looking forward to more information about the Tunney rant- he just can’t let this go and must keep his 15 min lasting is my guess.

    But he might also be hoping the whole start to construction is delayed enough that the rooftops gets another year without a “blocked” view so they can get one more year before they consider selling off.

    1. Hee Seop Chode

      they’re not selling off. at least not until their current agreement ends.

  5. King Jeff

    I know this passed and all, but it doesn’t really feel like the Cubs were able to get much of what they wanted out of the deal. The outfield signage is still in dispute, the night games are in dispute, the overpass has been killed, the hotel entrance is up for debate, and I haven’t seen anything on the Cubs being able to have vendors or a street fair on game days. Did the Cubs get anything out of this besides a Jumbotron that they may or may not be sued over?

  6. dash

    The city’s stance on this has always been hard to fathom. “A $500M project? Hmmm. Do we really want a private business spending that kind of money in our community?”

  7. MichiganGoat

    I hearing on twitter that the plan includes the bridge and unlimted signs. It’s basically a handshake deal for the bridge to be stopped and the 10 year “no more signs” to happen. That was what Tunney was referring to about the Cubs honoring their commitment. So we’ll have to wait and see what everything is about but their are many layers to all this.

    1. Beer Baron

      So ironic that a politician is telling someone else to be sure to fulfill their promises.

  8. MichiganGoat

    The mayor is about to speak

  9. Mikelach13

    I hope this allows the Cubs to start upgrading the players facilities this off season.

  10. MichiganGoat

    Matt Clapp @TheBlogfines: “Interrupting the Wrigley Field renovation approval news is so A-Rod of the royal baby.”

    -Tweet of the day!

  11. Mr. B. Patient

    So is it too late for the Cubs to change their minds and move?

  12. Richard Nose

    hahahah bring Swanson in to do all timelines from now on. I’m now in trouble at work for laughing too much. Great. Apparently my work is actually a library and I didn’t know it.

  13. Tsb

    Tunney has to talk big, to give his constituents the impression that he fought for them. All politics are local. Also when he gets paid off, he has a cover story…

  14. ISU Birds

    Half staff is too damn high for lil Sebastian!

  15. Dave
  16. Tim

    Won’t it be less than $500,000,000 now? Wonder what that extra money that they budgeted for will go to

  17. cubfanincardinalland

    I am perplexed how this can be considered positive. The cubs basically said we are not doing shit until we know that the moochers in the sky don’t start filing lawsuits. And one of the ways to achieve this, moving out the wall in right, has not been addressed after six months of talks. Look at the teams reaction on a day that should have been a celebration.
    In reality, they have more unknowns than ever. And the biggest factor by far is the cubs would be insane to spend one nickel without agreement from the rooftops. I just don’t see it happening.

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