Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Unlimited Booze and a Non-Update

respect wrigleyThis update is something more akin to a “the update is that there is no update” kind of thing. We’ve heard almost nothing on the status of the Wrigley Field renovation talks since early August, when the general story was something like this: City Council has given the green light for the Cubs to proceed with the renovation, but the Cubs do not want to move forward until they have confidence that the rooftops will not sue them as soon as the outfield signs go up (the outfield signs being one of the primary funding mechanisms for the renovation, itself). The Cubs also want to have complete control to do what they want in the outfield when the current rooftop agreement expires in about 10 years.

Against that backdrop, legislation just passed that protects the rooftops from a law that, in most cases, prohibits selling all-you-can-drink entry into bars. The Cubs opposed that legislation, according to Crain’s, I’d think for obvious reasons. It’s unclear whether this was all an expected outcome, and whether it has any impact on the Cubs/rooftops discussions. You’ll note that, when the Cubs first said they couldn’t proceed with the renovation until they were confident that the rooftops wouldn’t sue, the Cubs also said that they wanted strict enforcement of existing ordinances. It was a bit unclear exactly what that meant, but this legislation makes me wonder if the Cubs were angling to have the rooftops subject to the no-unlimited-booze law, and maybe the Cubs just lost that fight.

We’ll see what comes next. We know that the Cubs and rooftops have been discussing a possible Sheffield patio extension, but we don’t know if that’s gained much traction in the community (it was not part of the plan approved by City Council, so it would require new approvals).

What we do know is that the clock is ticking on the Cubs’ ability to start the renovations in earnest after this season ends, and that clock may have already reached zero. Losing another full construction season would suck.

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

30 responses to “Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Unlimited Booze and a Non-Update”

  1. ETS

    Who hates the cubs more than the roof tops?

    1. hansman1982

      Some Cubs fans…

      1. ETS

        lol well played.

  2. Jono

    Despite being a 2 drink guy, I love the unlimited all-you-can-drink idea. After all, this is America!

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      That sounds more European to me.

      1. Jono

        good point

    2. gocatsgo2003

      Land of the free, home of the gluttonous.

      1. Jono

        La Verdad

      2. DarthHater

        Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to drink.

        1. Jono

          I’m gonna request that to be in the form of a meme, please

          1. DarthHater

            Nah, that would seem to require making fun of Janis Joplin, which I categorically refuse to do.

            1. Funn Dave

              You could make fun of the Grateful Dead, who did that song, too! But that would be sacrilege.

              1. DarthHater

                Yea, even the Dark Side of the Force has limits. ;-)

              2. TWC

                No. You cannot make fun of the Grateful Dead. ::waves hand::

                1. Funn Dave

                  *waves hand* these aren’t the hippies you’re looking for.

  3. TaxCat

    As long as the roof top owners refuse to not sue, then construstion won’t start. What if they never agree – does this mean we wait ten years for the current agreement to run out?

    1. DarthHater

      The Cubs will allow the rooftop owners to hold up the beginning of construction only for as long as the Cubs deem it to be in their own interest – e.g. for as long as they can use the delay and the problems it creates as a political tool to get others to put pressure on the rooftops to reach a settlement that the Cubs would find acceptable. Once that point passes and the Cubs perceive no value for them in any further delay, they will either proceed without an agreement or file their own suit asking a court to sort out any potential legal issues the threat of which is holding things up.

  4. NoWrigley

    Hopefully this means they just tear down Wrigley and build a new state of the art stadium somewhere the city can’t hold them hostage.

    1. TWC

      Yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly what this means. ::rolls eyes::

    2. Chef Brian

      Yeah, and let me know when the shuttle has landed…

  5. Jason

    Why in the hell did the Cubs sign this retarded 20 year deal with these scum rooftop owners. That has to be the biggest F up of all time. If anything they should of tried to by them out and own the rooftops as well. This story will never end. I’m just so sick and tired of it.

    1. TWC

      How ’bout you don’t use that word again, eh, kid?

      And if you’re so sick and tired of this story, you don’t have to click on these links.

  6. Aaron

    If the roof top owners continue to play legal hot potato with the Cubs, further delaying the start of remodeling Wrigley Field, I’m certain that after that 10 year agreement is over the ball club will go out of their way to add enough bleacher seating to block any views from across the street.

  7. Funn Dave

    I’ve mostly been siding with the rooftop owners throughout this debate–their businesses depend on a view of Wrigley to be profitable, and I think it’s unfair and unnecessary for the Cubs to take that from them–but in this case I don’t see why the city gave them an exception. All-you-can-drink specials are downright dangerous, and the rooftop owners don’t depend on them to stay profitable, so I don’t see the logic in an exception.

    1. Pat

      It’s not an all you can drink exemption. They are selling a package to watch the game that includes unlimited food and drink. It’s really not that uncommon at all. I understand the Cubs trying to challenge it, but it’s a pointless exercise. Let’s say Quinn vetoes it. All the rooftops have to do is drop the ticket price five dollars and then state that all drink are fifty cents each, all the time. No violation of happy hour laws.

  8. cub1

    their “business” depends on poaching entertainment value from Cubs games…it’s on par with bringing a video camera to the movie theater and selling a live feed on the internet

    1. Pat

      No, because the game is being played in public view. At that point they have no right to views that exist outside their property boundaries. Now they do have the right to block that view, assuming they do not violate existing zoning codes in doing so. Or they would have that right, had they not contractually conceded it.

  9. cub1

    i stand corrected, i guess they didn’t have any renovations in mind when they signed the dang thing

  10. wilbur

    I wonder if the rooftops are positioning and hoping to be bought out be Ricketts. Making life difficult in the meantime will just hasten the buyout and improve the terms. If they can’t win an extension to their existing contract, then they will be looking at diminishing asset value with no deal extension. What do they have 8 years left on old deal? If being a thorn in the side of the cubs gets them a deal extension or a buyout on with a good return, then the next 8 years may be marred by cointinued difficulties.

  11. Die hard

    When pot is legalized in Illinois due to the plant would thrive in downstate farmland as a rotation crop then rooftop beer profits dispute would be moot — Illinois legislature should fast track approval just to teach Chicago lesson as to who controls state

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