Another positive signal in the Chicago Cubs’ efforts to get their revised renovation/development/expansion plan for Wrigley Field approved by the Landmarks Commission tomorrow: the Mayor appears to be on board.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have agreed to 10 modifications of their revised plan – the one they announced earlier this year when talks with the rooftops broke down, and which they will present tomorrow – at the Mayor’s request. Those changes, according to the Tribune’s source, will allow the Cubs to present at the Commission meeting tomorrow. Given that the Commission serves under the Mayor, and given that the changes were requested by the Mayor, it’s pretty easy to connect the approval dots.
The changes include a reduction in the size – but not quantity – of the seven outfield signs (five standard ad signs, two of which are in foul territory, and two video boards), as well as more space in between the signs. The Tribune’s piece has more on the requested changes, as well as the overall renovation story.
The Cubs also agreed, according to the Tribune, to continue negotiating with the rooftops on a peaceful solution. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s possible that, once the Cubs get approval for seven signs, they’ll use that as a bargaining chip with the rooftops.
The possible downside here? If the Cubs are agreeing to continue negotiating with the rooftops about the signs, and if the signs are an integral part of the renovation (because the revenue they generate will be part of the funding for the renovation, itself), aren’t we just going to see another negotiation-based delay? I tend to think no, because the Cubs will have so much leverage at that point that I’d like to believe they’ll go ahead and start with the rest of the renovation (of course, the moment they put shovels in the ground, they, too, lose a little leverage). But it’s possible.
That is to say, I think this Mayoral development is a good thing, but we’ll see. Very few have the stomach for another round of “City approves renovation plan, but Cubs won’t start until they have agreement with rooftops” delays. That’s what the entire last year was. Surely everyone has anticipated that problem this time around, right? Right?
All in all, I’m choosing to remain in a purely observational, as opposed to hopeful, state of mind. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, and then we’ll see what happens next.