respect wrigleyAs expected, today the Chicago City Council signed off on the revised Wrigley Field renovation and development plan, the original having been approved back in the Summer. The revisions to the plan include a branding arch (ad sign) over Clark Street, changes to the hotel, and further bump-out for the outfield walls.

What does this mean? It means that the Cubs have received the formal, legislative approvals that they need to begin serious construction work. That’s not a meaningless thing, but it doesn’t mean work starts tomorrow.

Unfortunately, we await word from the Cubs and the Ricketts Family on the state of discussions with the rooftop owners who are threatening to sue the Cubs if they start the construction, which includes revenue-generating outfield signs that could partially obstruct some views into the park.

Each of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Tom Tunney openly hoped that, with the approval in place, the Cubs would get to work on the construction soon (Sun-Times).

I’ll understand if the negotiations with the rooftops still take time, but I do hope we at least get something of a substantive update, now that City Council has signed off once again. Even if the update is: “We’re actively engaged in negotiations with the rooftops, the details of which we can’t share because that’s obviously not in anyone’s interest. Once we have those agreements in place, we’ll get started with as much of the renovation as we can, as soon as we can. Be assured: we’re talking. It’s a priority.”

Something like that.

  • woody

    Whopee! Now what do they do? Hire some knuckle draggers to get the rooftop owners in line?

    • DarthHater

      Make ’em an offer they can’t refuse.

      • BenRoethig

        I’d give them a deadline. Accept the offer by the first of the year or the Cubs leave and Beth Murphy gets a view of a museum

  • Ben

    Wake me when they start digging or building something.

    • cubmig

      Almost sounds like that fits the FO offseason…….

  • kgd

    I’m probably late to the party on this but I’ve been trying to understand something.

    I’ve heard that there are legal restrictions in place that limit how much the Cubs are able to spend on payroll based on how much revenue the team is bringing in. Does the added revenue generation from the signage then allow the Cubs to spend more because a of a raise in how much they are legally allowed to as opposed to offsetting a shortage of funds?

    Sorry if that’s confusing, it’s not typing as clearly as it is in my head.

    • DarthHater

      The exact nature of the restrictions (or even their actual existence, for that matter) is not publicly known.

      • MightyBear

        No but there are usually debt covenants tied to loans of that nature including ties to quick ratio, current ratio, debt to equity ratios etc. I’d bet the Cubs have some sort of ratio tied to the debt that keeps them from going Yankees on the payroll. My guess is the signage helps in two ways: 1 increases the revenue, hence making whatever ratio tied to the note less stringent and 2 gives them money to pay down the debt structure quicker, releasing them from any restrictions. This is all speculation on my part.

        • 1060Ivy

          Unless the covenants don’t allow: from revenue associated from stadium improvements; or, for operating expense to increase during construction activities; or, the Cubs to act like a MLB ballclub in a major market on days ending with the letter “y”.

          I have no clue what the debt covenants allow or don’t allow. There’s been lots of conjecture regarding what can be done or not be done based on these documents that a select group have reviewed but many on this site – including myself – have commented on.

          The covenants, Wrigley renovation, Wrigley, etc. all provide great stoppers to any conversation regarding improving the MLB roster.

        • itzscott1

          So with all the debt ratios, covenants, etc in place and supposedly tying one hand behind their back while trying to compete…..

          My question becomes does a good team, which costs more, generate more revenue…. which would allow them to compete more equally with other teams than a bad team does which costs less and generates less revenue?

          Wouldn’t the additional revenue from a winning team offset the additional costs and keep the required debt ratios, etc in line?

          Wouldn’t the planned ad revenue streams generate more revenue for a winning team drawing more fans & attention than a bad team?

          Somehow, a lot of the logic on the Cubs business side escapes me.

          • The Ghost of Brett Jackson

            It’s tough since we have no real idea what is going on with the business side, restrictions in place ect. It is frustrating and I am still on board with the FO’s plan but the more that leaks out the more I get concerned.

    • MightyBear


    • woody

      You would certainly think so. If we don’t get our big signs “boo hoo” then we can’t improve the team. We will perpetually suck until the rooftop owners give in. I think it may be a ploy to put pressure on the rooftop owners. More or less implying that they stand between the fans and a world series title. Maybe they should put a retractable roof on! That would really flip them out.

  • Reality Check


    did some dirt move to start………NO…………

    back to hibernation…………zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • The Ghost of Brett Jackson

    The Cubs cannot just sit and let the roofies hold them hostage. Sooner rather than later they have to get a deal done or just move ahead and make the roofies sue. This has been going on long enough. The Cubs have to know if a deal is realistic or not. There is no hiding behind City approvals anymore, make your move.

    • woody

      I know a good arsonist.

  • Brother Tim

    All these multitude of bureaucratic City Hall and Landmark Commission approvals mean jack sh!t in terms of getting the Wrigley renovation project underway at this stage. Nothing happens until the rooftop owners fall in line and the threat of lawsuit and injunction is eliminated. This isn’t moving fast, and I suspect this will remain very messy for a long time to come. Tom Ricketts grossly underestimated how to play this thing. What he should of done was play the steel balls / a-hole role and threaten move to a brand new ballpark. He lost all his leverage on day one of this thing, and Tom the Tinhat Dictator Tunney, Beth Murphy, the rooftop owners, and Wrigleyville “special interests” saw blood in the water and pounced.

    Total clusterfu(k.

    • The Ghost of Brett Jackson

      I completely agree leverage was lost early on and the negotiations with the city were completely underestimated and that led to much dragging of the feet by Tunney ect. But that is all done now except for the roofies. Get a deal done or force the roofies hand. I simply cannot understand how they can let the roofies hold this up now unless the contract is totally against the Cubs and the roofies have them by the balls.

  • Jon

    The rooftops aren’t going to sign a legal binding document that promises they won’t sue, nor are they going to make a pointless public verbal promise that won’t hold wait in court either.

    • Jon

      *weight derr….

    • Brother Tim

      Then construction won’t happen. The Ricketts would be fools to start any phase of the construction because the rooftop owners and their legal team could readily find a judge to slap an injunction on the whole process. Then you have a multi-year legal battle on your hands and NOTHING happens.

      The Ricketts absolutely MUST get the rooftop owners and neighborhood “special interests” to fall in line or he is fool to spend even one dollar on the construction. Any good corporate lawyer would counsel him the same on this.

      • Jon

        Yep, and what incentive to the Rooftops have to promise not to sue? You aren’t going to leave Wrigley, so there is no threat of that lost revenue. They have this contract for the next 10 or so years of guaranteed revenue. The rooftops aren’t going to help the Cubs in any way.

        Maybe Rham could have muscled the rooftops into not suing, but it doesn’t help when Daddy and most recently Todd are going in on the Super Pact anti-Obama stuff.

        Cluster fuck indeed.

        • Blackhawks1963

          I agree with Brother Tim completely. BUT, what I don’t really understand is this…why don’t the Cubs extend an olive branch and waive any future obligation that rooftop owners have to pay the Cubs for the remainder of the 20 year deal in place (thanks Crane Kenney, you fu(king MORON !!) ?? And, as a further enticement let the rooftops have “free” views for eternity. The rooftop owners have protection from further encroachment anyways because the Cubs CAN’T further mess with their views because the Jumbotron, right field signage, etc. has already been vetted and agreed to with the city and Landmark Commission.

          So why not go to the rooftop owners and say you no longer owe us another dime. If I recall, the current deal in place (thanks Crane Kenney, you fu(king MORON !!) only pays the Cubs $1.7 million per season. That’s chump change.

          • gocatsgo2003

            So instead of “we get to do what we want with our stadium and still collect revenues from the rooftops” you want the management to say “we will never do anything to impede your views AND forego years of revenue in the process!” Logical.

          • Jon

            If I’m a rootop owner(s), and for the next 10 years I have a choice of paying the Cubs 1.3 million a year for perfect views or free obstructed views for the next 10 years, I’m still taking the former. 1.3 million is chump change.

            They have no incentive to help the Cubs.

          • The Ghost of Brett Jackson

            The Cubs do not want to give up any opportunity down the line to put up new signage ect. Then they are back in this situation in 15 years.

            I agree the 1.7 million a year owed to the Cubs is chump change and could be used as an olive branch in some sort of negotiation.

        • woody

          Exactly my sentiments. I’ve been saying that all along the way. They really pissed Rahm off back in 2012.

          • Scotti

            Rahm wasn’t “pissed off.” He was powerless in city hall to get the deal he promised to the Cubs (S100 in Amusement tax relief) and he needed an easy excuse to save face. The Rickett’s PAC actually REFUSED to go negative on Obama. The supposed sin was that some outside entity came to the PAC and proposed a shady ad. Ricketts refused. THAT pissed off Rahm? Really? How many negative pitches did the other side’s PACs refuse and who would THAT piss off? (hint, people get pissed when PACs GO negative not when they REFUSE).

  • aCubsFan

    There will not be any major construction / renovations done this off season. It’s just too late for anything to be started.

    • noisesquared

      The Cubs should erect some old school wooden billboards in the locations where the fancy future Jumbotrons will sit in both right and left. Keep the style consistent with the CF scoreboard to make it look nice, but get the sizing lined up to match the exact obstructions the new signs will create. Once they are in place, see what the rooftop owners do. If the lawsuits start to fly, there is time to for resolution prior to the renovations starting in earnest in the offseason of 2014.

  • Die hard

    Let the lawsuits begin or the curse of Edgar A Poe to reign

  • jmc

    Does this mean the cubs will have a winning team this year Santa? Wait darth hater implied there was no Santa. Brett?

  • Senor Cub

    Glad it’s moving along. It’s in everyone’s interest to make this happen. Rooftops are not the hot ticket they used to be so they need to bend a little as well. Once they agree the renovations start, the product on the field improves, and everyone makes money in the process.

    • Jon

      The rooftops don’t have to bend at all. They have a 10 years left on a binding contract that gives them unblocked views.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Moving along? Status quo is what the carpetbaggers want.

      I spit my lunch out laughing when I read “some residents prefer the cubs put in a farmers market instead of an outdoor bar pavilion”.

      Get your turnips here, fresh turnips!
      If you made up this whole disaster in a novel, nobody would take you serious.

  • Sect209row15

    There was a surveyor on waveland at ten this am. Lined up along the curb. The target guy was in the middle of clark street and a third guy was waving the cars by. I was too cold to ask what they were doing.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    I think it might be the case that they are talking to some rooftops but not others or are having parallel discussions that are independant. they might not want the other rooftop owners knowing what other sorts of discussions are going on.

  • cubsin

    A think a friendly visit to the rooftop owners by the Mayor (with a few of his friends from the Tax Assessor’s office in tow) might encourage the rooftop owners to settle with the Cubs and let the improvements begin.

  • jmc

    Su Times article “Mayor pressures cubs to start construction after Coumcill vote” sorry I don’t know how to add the link

  • Kevin

    The Ricketts are smart to do absolutely nothing. A bad club reduces attendance for the rooftops too. Squeeze the rooftops pockets to the point where they finally cave in to the Cubs demands. If this plan doesn’t work then the Cubs move and build a new stadium elsewhere with the money they have pocketed. Ricketts will not be controlled by anyone. Those who say Ricketts hasn’t played his cards right should take a step back and take a better look.

  • Napercal

    Unless you are joking, that is an idiotic statement.

  • jmc

    thanks for the link mjhurdle I am technologically challenged

  • Kevin

    That’s exactly what Ricketts is doing. There’s no other scenerio that makes any sense. I may not like it anymore than the general fan base but it is what it is. Sorry you feel so strongly you minimize it by cutting people down.

  • Die hard

    Again- I spent 25 yrs in construction projects much larger than this one.. There are more unknowns than knowns in moving back aged walls of an aged structure onto aged sidewalks

    • DarthHater

      “I spent 25 yrs in construction projects much larger than this one.”

      Die hard = Jimmy Hoffa. At last, the mystery is solved!

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