respect wrigleyWhile the Chicago Cubs haven’t made any moves this week in Orlando, they’ve continued apace back in Chicago. That’s because, today, the team received the final approval needed before the necessary tweaks to the Wrigley Field renovation and development plan head to the full Chicago City Council tomorrow for the big sign-off. You’ll recall that we’ve done this dance once before, but certain changes to the plan required that the Cubs go through this all again. Tomorrow is the culmination.

Today, the City’s Panel on Transportation and Public Way approved the most notable of the plan tweaks, allowing the Cubs to move the outfield walls at Wrigley even further into Waveland and Sheffield Avenues than previously approved. For details on the approval, I’d recommend this piece from Danny Ecker at Crain’s.

That tweak, and the rest, are expected to be approved without any issue tomorrow by City Council. But, as was the case last time, full approval by City Council won’t be the end of the story, because the Cubs are still holding back construction until they know that the owners of the rooftop buildings around Wrigley Field won’t sue to block the Cubs’ ability to erect two outfield signs, the proceeds from which are being used to help fund the renovation. There is also the matter of the booze-in-the-plaza ordinance to be worked out, but the rooftop deal remains the biggest hurdle to construction getting underway (at least as far as we’ve been told over the last few months).

I expect that we’ll learn of approval tomorrow, and then hopefully we’ll get a statement from the Cubs with some substance on (1) where talks with the rooftops stand (and what the plan is to get whatever assurances the Cubs need), (2) when we can expect significant construction to get underway, (3) whether the timeline for construction has been pushed back a full year, and (4) which parts of the renovation plan will get underway first (including the outfield signage, and any other revenue-generators). I am hopeful that the reason there hasn’t been a whole lot to say about the timelines/discussions over the past two months is because the Cubs were prudently waiting out the conclusion of the legislative process before saying much of anything. To me, that makes sense.

If the Cubs intend to sell the 2014 season as the 100th birthday of Wrigley Field, I think it would behoove them to be as transparent as possible about all things Wrigley. The renovation is too important to the future of not only the ballpark, but also the organization, for the Cubs to not offer as much information as possible to the very fans they’d like to see supporting The Friendly Confines for another 100 years. Also, I know I nudge you frequently in this direction, but … you should care about this stuff, too. Wrigley’s continued existence is important for all kinds of “fan” reasons (sue me, I love the place (actually, don’t sue me … )), but doing it right will also help drive additional long-term revenue for the organization. That means more money to spend on the organization and the on-field product.

The Winter Meetings will continue to take most of my focus tomorrow, but I’ll also be anticipating Wrigley news. Hell, it could be more important than anything that happens tomorrow in Orlando.

  • Brother Tim

    Then what? The Ricketts continue to be held hostage by Beth Murphy and the rooftop owners (i.e., the threat of lawsuit and an injunction slapped on any construction). That’s what.

    • Cizzle

      I’m sure before long her establishment will do something so offensive and embarrassing that she’ll just drop any complains she has about the renovations. Oh, that happened last week?

  • Jon

    The reality it’s all a moot point until they can find a way to deal with their binding contract with the rooftop leaches.

    What a disaster.

  • Required

    Only the Cubs could be held hostage by their own neighborhood.

    • Jon

      They made their bed by pledging absolute allegiance to a 100 year old piss hole.

      • Scott

        IMO they made their bed by signing a contract with the rooftop owners. No contract, and you don’t have these issues, right? Without that, renovate away. I’m not sure the park is the problem here.

      • Scott

        After all, the Red Sox have won 3 world titles in the last decade, in a 102 year old piss hole.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Commit to spending $500 million of your own money — not one dime of taxpayer investment — yet held hostage for months upon months by th city and the rooftop owners. This is definition of a clusterfu&k.

      • itzscott

        Money isn’t everything

  • Jon

    I’m amazed how someone like Ricketts that has made billions in investment banking could managed to get hustled by a bunch of goons in Chicago.

    From day one I would have invested money on a proposal for a site in the suburbs. A 100% replica Wrigley if you will…..It’s call leverage.

    • Die hard

      He led with his heart not his head

    • Jeff

      Rickett’s father made billions, Tom has only road the coat-tails of that success, hence the lack of fore-sight on politics in Chicago and his naive approach to buying the team and agreeing to the Sam Zell stipulations that clearly are hampering this team as well as the inability to renovate Wrigley.

      Hey, Tom doesn’t lose any sleep at night, It’s only daddy’s money.

      • CubFan Paul

        “Tom has only road the coat-tails…It’s only daddy’s money”

        This is all false. It’s called InCapital.

        • Jon

          Which I’m sure was funded by the wealth of TD Ameritrade.

        • terencemann

          Ricketts spent exactly one summer of his life at Ameritrade. He’s never worked for them other than being named a director after a career of success. I’m sure having the connection his family had have helped him in life but he’s really good at what he does. Here’s an article about him from Forbes in 2002:

          Also, searching for more information about Ricketts taught me that his sister was a big fundraiser for Obama which sort of takes the wind out of the “Rahm is punishing the Ricketts for betting against Obama” argument.

          • CubFan Paul

            Facts? They don’t need no stinking facts.

          • Jon

            Laura supports Obama because of marriage equality stuff, but other than that the entire family is very right wing.

            Even Todd recently doubled down on the stupidity and got involved with that super pact nonsense.

            • Scotti

              Is it at all possible to not do politics here?

      • terencemann

        Only Cubs fans would complain about their owner investing 500 MM of their own money into a new stadium and not fleecing their city/county/state for the money.

    • Frank

      Cicero offered them a lot of land to do whatever they wanted to do.

  • Die hard

    Daddy needed a tax write off?

  • Die hard

    The neighborhood has no idea how disruptive noisy smelly and dirty these renovations will be .. For instance moving back the walls will be like living next to a demolition site and there are unknowns in terms of affect on remaining structure- will be like tearing down and then building up the wall-

    • Scotti

      The neighborhood underwent the left-field and right-field bleachers being reconstructed just a few years ago.

      • Die hard

        Exactly my point

        • Scotti

          I don’t really see that:

          “The neighborhood has no idea how disruptive noisy smelly and dirty these renovations will be…”

          I kind of think they know. They’ve been there and done that.

    • DarthHater

      “there are unknowns in terms of affect on remaining structure”

      Wow! I bet it never occurred to the Ricketts to hire a construction engineer. Good thing you thought of it!

      • DarthHater

        Also, fwiw, it’s “effect,” not “affect.”

        • Die hard

          Uhhh- Einstein you forgot this one from Websters–
          Another meaning is indicated when the word is accented on the first syllable (AFF-ect), meaning “emotion.” You don’t think this mess will stir up anger and anxiety among the neighbors having to endure rich overgrown kids expanding their sandbox?

          • mjhurdle

            50 points to DieHard for managing to Google the word ‘affect’.
            The judges accept his statement of which definition of the word he intended.

            However, as a result, the judges are forced to deduct 50 points for Die Hard’s usage of the ‘feeling emotion” in reference to the inanimate object that is the “remaining structure” of the stadium.

            In the end, Die Hard is awarded no points, and may God have mercy on his soul.

          • DarthHater

            Yea, I’m sure your intended meaning was: “there are unknowns in terms of emotion on remaining structure.” I’m also sure that monkeys are flying out of my butt.

        • The Logos

          “Quit calling me Einstein, Einstein!”

      • MichiganGoat

        What they can’t just attach it to ropes and pull it back… because that the plan right?

        • Die hard

          Think Poes Cask of Amontillado — ends badly

          • DarthHater

            And I’m sure you intended here to refer to multiple “Poes” in the plural, rather than to the possessive “Poe’s.” 😛

            • Die hard

              Some just cant see the forest for the trees