We’re one day away from the Chicago Cubs presenting their revised Wrigley Field renovation/expansion/development plan to the Landmarks Commission, which could prove the final political hurdle to getting the renovation underway as soon as this month. The Cubs have expressed confidence that they’ll receive approval at that meeting, but you know as well as I do that allowing yourself to have hope is too dangerous at this point. We have passed through Dante’s gates of hell: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
An interesting wrinkle, even if the Cubs do get approval for their revised plan, which includes seven outfield signs, is whether they will then immediately descend into litigation with the rooftops, who recently offered not to sue if the Cubs went back to their two-sign plan. The Cubs did not take the rooftops up on that offer, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel encouraged the sides to keep negotiating, nevertheless.
“They should always have an open door policy, both sides, to negotiate,” Emanuel said yesterday when asked about the latest, according to the Tribune, “and I would encourage them to continue to do that.” Interestingly, when he was pressed on whether the Cubs should relent and agree to two signs, the Mayor would not give a yes or no.
Even if negotiations are ongoing, I can understand why the Cubs would want to go ahead and still get approval tomorrow from the Commission for a seven-sign plan. At that point, they’ve got all of the leverage. Maybe the signs get negotiated down to a smaller number, but the Cubs lost a year of possible work while wrangling with the rooftops. It would be strange to go through all of that – despite the Cubs having compromised down to two signs in the first place – and then all of this ridiculous follow-up work with the City, only to then have to accept what they were willing to give a year ago.
For now, we’ll see what happens tomorrow. Hopefully the Cubs get their approval, and then we find out what the next step is going to be.
Best guess? The Cubs receive approval – but with conditions/restrictions/some kind of stuff they don’t like – and then continue negotiating with the rooftops while getting to work on the triangle property, where the Cubs’ new clubhouse will be underground and the plaza will be above ground.
Uh oh – that sounded dangerously close to hope, didn’t it?