For me, I will never let myself become optimistic about anything related to the renovation and development of Wrigley Field again after years of starts and stops, hopes and busts, and outfields full of disappointment.
But, for the Cubs, it does sound like there’s some optimism about next week’s Landmarks Commission meeting. Recall, the Cubs need the Commission to sign off on their revised renovation/expansion/development plan – the one the Cubs said they were going to barrel ahead with even though they didn’t have a deal in place with the rooftops not to sue – before they can break ground. They’d wanted to break ground first on their new clubhouse in mid-July, but their hopes of having the Commission approve the plan last month were crushed under the weight of political theater. Not about the increase in outfield signs from two to seven, mind you, but about the slight widening of the outfield doors so that the Cubs could move the bullpens under the bleachers.
With an offer to take the bullpen doors thing off the table, the Cubs are hoping their revised plan will be considered at the July 10 Landmarks Commission meeting, and summarily approved.
Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times spoke with Cubs VP of Communications and Community Affairs Julian Green about what’s to come, and the Cubs believe July 10 will be the day. Green told Spielman that the team does not want to lose another year, and has made sure that their plans conform to what the Commission will be willing to approve. You can read the Sun-Times piece for more background on the issues.
Suffice it to say, *if* the Cubs do receive approval from the Landmarks Commission next week, they will likely move with very rapid pace to get construction started on the triangle property west of the ballpark, which will eventually become the plaza, and below which will be the Cubs’ posh, enormous new clubhouse and player facilities.
It also remains possible that approval will come, only to be followed immediately by a lawsuit from the rooftops, on the basis that the approved signage will block their views into the park, in violate of the parties agreement. Although the strength of that argument is debatable, any lawsuit could thrown yet another wrench into the Cubs’ best laid plans.