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respect wrigleyAlthough the rooftop battle is still ongoing, you may or may not recall that the Cubs recently received support from the Mayor with respect to a few minor changes to the Wrigley Field renovation and development plan. Because they are changes to the plan originally approved by City Council (and the various commissions/boards thereunder), those changes have to be approved by the same – theoretically much, much less contentious – process.

Today, per Crain’s, the Landmarks Commission took the first step in that process, OK’ing a change to the plan to bump out the right field wall onto Sheffield Avenue. Originally planned for a 15-foot bump-out, the wall will now creep out 25 feet instead. The right field patio, which will overhang the street, will now jut out 16 feet instead of 8 feet. These alterations came as part of the Cubs’ agreement to drop their demand for a pedestrian bridge over Clark (sigh), make certain changes to the hotel planned for west of the park, and reduce night games from 46 to 43 (but with more control over the scheduling of those games). In theory, these alterations could help with the ongoing right field sign drama, but that remains to be seen.

After the outfield walls are bumped out – left field is getting a bump, too – Sheffield will still be a two-way street, but with no parking. Waveland Avenue will become a one-way between Sheffield and Clark. Wrigley Field’s footprint will thus be increased in a way that would otherwise not have been possible. And, if you’ve spent much time in the bleachers, you know that it’s desperately needed.

These changes to the renovation plan still have to go through a committee process and then receive approval from City Council, but, with the Mayor’s backing, that is all expected to be smooth sailing. As for when any of this actually starts to take physical shape, well, that’s still a mystery. The Cubs have been involved in a protracted dispute with the rooftops over outfield signage, and have said they will not proceed with the renovation until they’re certain the rooftops won’t immediately sue to shut the project down.

Hopefully those talks are ongoing …

 

  • Fidel Castro

    Until somebody gives Tom Tunney the blowjob he’s been demanding and finds a date for bull dike Beth Murphy, the Wrigley contruction won’t happen. Tom Ricketts needs to open his mind up to certain realities of dealing with a good old fashion Chicago shakedown.

    • MichiganGoat

      Oh wow we are really on dipshit roll today, wouldn’t want to miss the chance to make homophobic comments, keeping it classy

    • Funn Dave

      Can we get a banhammer?

      • Tony_S

        Second

        • Corey

          Thirded

  • Jon

    Wouldn’t it just make sense to proceed and factor litigation costs in the process. Surely the Cubs can “out lawyer”(is that a term) the rooftop owners?

    • ETS

      Multiple times Brett has mentioned lawsuits are lengthy and expensive. Even if they “out lawyered” them, I think they could filed a cease and desist in the meantime. Either way, the construction won’t happen until some agreement is made. I don’t think Ricketts is in a position to wait for the legal drama to pay out – even if he is on the winning side of it.

    • Funn Dave

      Perhaps, but I kinda hate that whole line of thinking. Lawsuits should be about ensuring that laws and contracts are respected, not about who has the better lawyers.

    • DarthHater

      I’ve often wondered the same thing, Jon. But if the Cubs really do have top lawyers, then those lawyers are presumably advising them as to when they should or should not commence litigation. Obviously, they have so far tried hard to avoid it. Whether that’s on advice of counsel, we are never likely to know.

    • Ken

      The fact that the renovations are going to take place over several years during the offseason, during fall and winter months with unpredictable weather to begin with, I don’t think the Cubs want to add another possible delay (construction shutdown do to a legal spat) to a project with an already tight schedule and have an unfinished project when opening a season in April of 2014, 15, 16 whenever

  • cavemencubbie

    And the dance goes on and on and there is no chance of getting off the merry-go-round.

  • North Side Irish

    I don’t see any reason why the rooftop owners would agree to not proceed with the lawsuit. Right now, they are getting exactly what they want and if they agree, then their views get at least partially blocked. At some point, the Cubs need to either meet the RTOs asking price for the buildings or proceed with the renovations and force the lawsuit issue. Waiting for the RTOs to agree not to sue does nothing to help the Cubs.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      Certainly what they are trying to negotiate is a $ amount to block some of the view or buyout of the rooftop buildings or some other arrangement where the Cubs would give up something of value to go forward with the project…possibly even an extension of the deal longer term.

      • Tony_S

        Concur with this, I think it’s just a matter of verbiage and limited sound bites. I believe it’s less “they won’t play nice” and more “shit, the rooftops want a lot of money for us to alter this contract, and we’re trying to negotiate it down…”

      • Mick

        Now, there’s a concession worth considering, extending the rooftop’s contract. The Cubs possibly buy out the buildings whose views they’re going to obstruct and in return they extend/renegotiate the contract to those rooftops whose views will be unobstructed.

        Or the Cubs can just continue to play hard ball, block their views, breach their contract, argue the contract was not valid, force the suit to an arbitrator, pay the damages and move on.

        Maybe the City could even claim eminent domain of the rooftops in order to complete the suit more quickly thus starting the renovations sooner.

  • Blackhawks1963

    What I don’t understand is why the Cubs don’t go to the rooftop owners with a proposal to extend their current revenue sharing agreement. The current deal that was negotiated by that rocket scientist Crane Kenney runs from 2005 thru 2024 (20 years) if memory serves. The rooftop owners agree to pay the Cubs $1.7 million a year under that deal. Which if you think about it, is chump change so far as the Cubs go. So why not go to these extortionists and offer them an appealing arrangement. Maybe options could be the following.

    1. Rip up the current agreement and sign a new one that says the rooftop owners don’t have to pay the Cubs a dime ever again.
    2. Extend the current agreement, thereby giving the rooftop thieves the “comfort” of knowing they aren’t screwed after 2024 when the Cubs might finally be so fed up to the point that they put up wind screens, etc.
    3. Come to some mutual revenue sharing agreement for the placement of rooftop advertising signs that can be seen from the inside the ballpark and on TV.

    Money makes the world go around. The Cubs have done a great job I think of making sure the Jumbotron and right field signage is minimally impactful to current views from the rooftops. Surely a deal can be struck. The money in question is chump change for the Ricketts.

    • noisesquared

      Glad to see you’ve came around! After proposing similar RTO contract extensions with some low cost perks as concessions, I was accused of being pro-rooftops…

      Blackhawks1963
      October 31, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink | Reply
      Great…Beth Murphy has chimed in. Sigh

      I wish Tom Ricketts would resort to the nuclear option with these obstructionists rooftop owners. Let them sue the Cubs. The Ricketts have very deep pockets and can hire the best corporate attorneys in the country to bring these idiot rooftop owners to their knees and to bankrupt them. Ricketts can spend $10 million plus on the best lawyers in the world.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        And yet, the law may still be on the rooftop’s side. I don’t like what the city did to the Cubs in the first place, basically making the Cubs accept a deal with the rooftops (after they tried to place the windscreens the first time). Yes, Rickett’s knew he was stuck with the Tribune company era deal, but as a Cubs fan, the city really stuck it to my team back then and the results of that forced arrangements continues to stifle the Cubs success.

        • Tony_S

          I don’t think I knew there was city pressure to deal back then, but that actually explains a lot.

          Also, random question: if the Cubs were like TOTALLY rebuilding Wrigley, or doing some major, massive overhaul to the outfield side of the stadium, would we even be having these conversations? If we built higher walls, there would no longer BE a view into the stadium… Just a thought. Sometimes in negotiations, sides haggle over details based on the frame of reference both sides are using, but if that frame of reference changes dramatically, the previously held positions or details are seen as trivial. Of course, that all goes back to Ricketts kinda playing softball here, and the city being kinda dick-ish about it. I don’t blame the rooftops one bit for holding their position, but it kinda goes back to the leaving discussion… Then the rooftop owners could have all the view they wanted of the Chicago Cubs Museum at Wrigley Field.

  • itzscott

    Maybe Rick Renteria can talk some sense into those rooftop owners.

    If he can manage those guys, I’ll have more confidence that he can manage the Cubs and like his hiring a lot more than I do now.

    • DarthHater

      No, no, you have to be Irish to communicate with Beth Murphy. ;-)

      • hansman

        Will people be pissed if we hire an Irishman?

        • Ken

          Old Hoss Radbourne certainly would

          • DarthHater

            Time to replace Crane Kenney with Bill the Butcher:
            [img]http://static.dramastyle.com/images/3/3/7421/Gangs-Of-New-York_7421_1.jpg[/img]

            • Tony_S

              Replace Crane Kenney with a $&@/ing blow up doll for all I care…

            • Wilbur

              Or all Cubs executives start wearing top hats …

  • Rich

    I realize there is landmark status, but put the large jumbotron in center field.
    and move the scoreboard either to left or…

    ( but wait there’s more )…

    have the jumbotron have a virtual Wrigley Scoreboard and have the old one face Sheffield and Waveland Ave..

    and I have posted this before..I am a dork..( and I am ok with it )

    • Ken

      I don’t understand why they can’t put large screens on either side of the existing scoreboard for replays, ads and statistical info.

      • Scotti

        The scoreboard isn’t as well situated for ad revenue as are the current proposals for the video board and see-through ad in left and right, respectively. Ad revenue is generated, not by how many Wrigley attenders see it, but rather, by how often the cameras capture it (and the folks at home see it). The scoreboard is simply too far back from the action and too high up to be seen in casual shots.

  • 1060Ivy

    Any chance that the Ricketts may prefer to delay the start of construction on Wrigley for a period of time?

    It appears that when the ownership group purchased the club, they were fully aware of the rooftop agreement but it seems as if they commenced working on this issue after developing the plans for renovation. If most knew of an impediment, wouldn’t the expedient thing to do would be to clear the way before making grandiose plans and announcements.

    The delay also delays some of the revenue enhancements that Ricketts have said are necessary prior to additional spending on free agents.

    Could Ricketts have determined that the current profitability of the team is greater without the outlays for the Wrigley renovation and free agents?

    Long term, most would agree that the Cubs profitability increases when Cubs win, crowds return to Wrigley and TV/radio audiences climb but Cubs winning is not a guarantee so perhaps he sits on the investment with a dwindling return for a period of time until the prospect pool matures and rides the cash cow?

    Again, no clue regarding the financial workings of the Ricketts ownership group – other than what’s publicly available – but have to question some of the bumbling that the Ricketts have done regarding getting moving the renovation process forward.

    • Chicago4life

      I think Ricketts figures he is going to fight for everything he wants all at once and the public will put pressure on the government to help work it out with the neighbors. He figures the external pressure of his $500 million promise will push everyone to give him what he wants and it is worth holding out for. Eventually he will get it.

    • Scotti

      “…wouldn’t the expedient thing to do would be to clear the way before making grandiose plans and announcements.”

      The “grandiose plans and announcements” have put a ton of pressure on the other parties that would not have been there with no planning and publicity.

      • 1060Ivy

        How often does negotiating via the public more expedient than negotiating privately?

        My question is there a scenario in which it’s advantageous to ownership to delay renovation?

        As I prefer to believe that Ricketts is smarter than what the public has witnessed to date regarding the renovation so perhaps it’s more profitable to the ownership to delay and have public opinion/pressure affect outcome than private negotiation.

        • Scotti

          “How often does negotiating via the public more expedient than negotiating privately?”

          In Chicago??? In Chicago politics, if you don’t have a strong public position, you lose.

          “My question is there a scenario in which it’s advantageous to ownership to delay renovation?”

          Only in that committing to renovation means that you have accepted the last best offer. Once the team starts digging they lose their “I’m taking my football home” card. That’s really their only winning card. The video board/see-through ads don’t apply to the rebuild in the same way–they pay for themselves in the first year (and then some). They can get started on those without a full commitment. But the rest doesn’t START until the Cubs are willing to accept the other side’s offer (which the team is trying to improve–and succeeding).

          “As I prefer to believe that Ricketts is smarter than what the public has witnessed to date regarding the renovation so perhaps it’s more profitable to the ownership to delay and have public opinion/pressure affect outcome than private negotiation.”

          I really see no way to fault TR here (“…Ricketts is smarter than what the public has witnessed to date…”). This was a no-win situation for decades. The Mighty, Mighty Trib got pissed on for years and they were told that they were going to take it and that they were going to like it. The Trib simply accepted that as how it was going to be and allowed others to control their interests. TR is changing that. It takes time and effort, but TR will win out, IMHO.

          • Wilbur

            I respect your HO …

            • Scotti

              Heh. It may not really be all that H but it is my O. ;-)

  • cow143

    This could make Sheffield HR’s more difficult.

    • Scotti

      The length of the field isn’t being extended, only the width of the wall. The video board/see-through ad would have very, very little impact on the wind so there is no impact on HR’s.

      • MichiganGoat

        I think he means standing on Sheffield to catch a home run.

        • Scotti

          Well, not if you buy a ticket. ;-)

  • itzscott

    I got an idea of how to solve this impasse….

    Put up giant 3D TV’s in front of the rooftops, give those yahoos some 3D glasses along with their beer, broadcast the Cub game to them….. and they’ll think they’re there.

    End of saga.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      A double sided jumbotron? You may be on to something there!!!

      • Chicago4life

        I actually think this was mentioned, but the rooftop guys still didn’t want that.

  • Die hard

    A World Series win will solve all issues

    • Wilbur

      Not really, it just raises the stakes!

  • Sect209Row15

    I get off work at nine and will make a detour by Wrigley to measure the sidewalk behind the right field wall. I think its about 25 feet to the curb. I can’t believe the neighbors are cool with having the wall so close to their homes. Those are still mostly residential buildings from Addison to the first rooftop building. Wild.

    • Pat

      And then a 16 foot overhang beyond that. Should be interesting to see what it looks like when complete.

    • Tony_S

      I agree with this sentiment, but big picture I think this is a baby step. If I’m Ricketts and I plan to go full bore on this Cubs adventure, the more real estate I can take over in the ‘hood, the better. Crappy conditions lead to residents selling cheaper. Airports have become experts at this over the years, as have state and local governments when it comes to expanding roadways.

  • Cardfan

    I can think of no other team in baseball that can come close to offering the diverseness in drama provided by these Chicago Cubs. There is an inexplicable attractiveness to it.
    [img]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-rspqu50hmb8/URP6dwAbV9I/AAAAAAAAAg8/8NNoU7FnDR4/s72-c/I-Cant-Quit-You.jpg[/img]

    • hansman

      diversiveness?

  • Steve

    Remove the old scoreboard and construct the new one at that location. Been a loyal Cub fan for 60-years and in a few years, the vast majority of Cub fans won’t even remember that the old scoreboard ever existed. .

  • Die hard

    Have a friend who is retired construction engineer. He stated that moving wall back 25 ft is a lot easier said than done and the cost estimates will likely be 25-50% of true cost given so many unknowns which is why the Cubs are not treating this as a shovel ready project until Rooftoppers and neighborhood issues are fully settled.

  • cub2014

    ok we have our manager, now lets bring in
    Duncan for the hitting coach. Go get Kasmir,
    Tanaka,Choo,Benoit & Pena and we are off
    and running (dont know how good we will be)
    but bring on 2014 I am ready to go.

  • Cub Lifer

    I’m actually a corporate lawyer for a living. I can tell you the Cubs won’t start any phase of construction until all threat of lawsuits is removed. Nor should they. The rooftop owners could likely find a judge to throw an injunction on the work. Which if that were to happen would be a substantial and long term legal tangle to address.

  • dan

    just go to rosemount solved.

  • Chicagoguy8219

    Just heard kaplan’s interview with Rick Renteria….very pleasant guy. The said thing is that he is going to be criticized for being too nice. He seems to be very upbeat and positive and not nearly as dry as Dale.

  • Die hard

    One win win settlement may be for Cubs to extend Rooftoppers contract for 10 additional years if modified to allow Cubs more latitude and if Cubs agreed to make up lost revenues during existing remaining years- this is just one way and there are many more ways to settle this now

  • Aaron

    Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts and his family will not start work until the rooftop club owners agree not to sue if new outfield advertising signs block their sightlines.

    With the new approval by the Landmarks Commission, the right field wall onto Sheffield Avenue will bump out to 25 feet. This is good news. The farther back the sign is, the more the couple of rooftops in right field will not be affected or at least less affected. If one or two of those roof top views are only slightly affected, the Cubs could reduce their profit sharing percentage with those owners, so they keep more of the profit.

    Sounds like a deal that can be done before the start of next season.

    • TOOT

      Ya, right.

    • TOOT

      Just like Obama Care, huh?

      • toby

        you mean the ACA? I’m going to say this: How many people do you personally know that has Diabetes? I do. I personally know that they had one hell of time finding insurance because of the pre-existing condition. I couldn’t get insurance before the ACA because my family has a history of cancer which the insurance companies deemed as a pre-existing condition. I’ve known families that have gone bankrupt because the insurance companies only pay up to a certain dollar amount. I’ve known friends that had their policies cancelled because they got cancer. So, you can take your right wing “insults” and shove it.

      • greenroom

        No damn politics. Take that sh#! someplace else.

        • toby

          I apologize.

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    A New piece on the TV economics of baseball: http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com/2013/11/tv-economics-of-baseball-bubble-of.html

    Some Cubs in it. But I hope you all will read and analyze in a broader perspective.

    Thanks

  • Ivy Eater

    In other mayoral news… Big Papi finished 3rd in votes for Boston mayor…

  • http://cubsonline.com edward hansen

    PLEASE TELL RICKETTS TO MOVE THE CLUB. I HAVE LOVED WRIGLEY FOR 60 YRS ROOF TOP OWNERS ARE MAKING A FOOL OUT OF THE RICKETTS FAMILY ENOUGH MOVE WE WILL COME TO WATCH ARE TEAM.

  • Pingback: Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Plan Commission Approves Modifications, Including New Sign | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

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