Although it might not be exactly the lawsuit folks were expecting and have been discussing for months, today, the owners of some of the rooftops outlining the outfield at Wrigley Field have filed suit to try and stop the renovation of Wrigley from proceeding as approved in July by the Chicago Commission on Landmarks. That approval, you’ll recall, came after the Cubs determined they could not come to a peaceful agreement with the rooftops about outfield signage, and subsequently requested seven outfield signs as part of the plan. That was an increase from the two signs that were previously anticipated.
As a condition of approval, the Cubs were required to continue discussions with the rooftops about coming to some kind of solution short of a legal fight that would imperil the project. Apparently, with respect to at least some of the rooftops, those negotiations did not succeed.
Crain’s has the initial report of the lawsuit, which I have not yet seen myself. I’ll reserve too much comment until I’ve had an opportunity to review the complaint, but, according to Crain’s, it names the City of Chicago and the Landmarks Commissions as defendants, but not the Chicago Cubs. That’s because the suit apparently attacks the Commission approval of the outfield signage, and does not address the contract between the Cubs and the rooftops (which we’ve discussed at length, and which doesn’t look like a good angle for the rooftops).
It would appear that there’s a rift among the rooftops, as only eight of the fourteen rooftops are included as plaintiffs in the suit. That they’ve challenged only the City and the Commission appears to be designed to try and keep the Cubs out of the suit, which may not be possible, given the interrelated nature of the approval and the Cubs’ right to expand the bleachers (with signage), vis a vis the rooftop contract.
I’m not going to go too far down this rabbit hole until I see, and can analyze, the complaint. The short version, though, is that lawsuits often grind things to a halt, even when there is little merit. Sometimes suits actually spur action, but other times they require time and force delays. Assuming all sides have been negotiating (and this was the threat on the table), I’d be surprised if the Cubs didn’t know this was coming. That said, that doesn’t mean the lawsuit won’t temporarily halt any Cubs’ plans to proceed with the renovation in the next two months.
And any delay could potentially be much longer. Just what you wanted to hear, right?
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