Against the backdrop of the ongoing renovation work at Wrigley Field, and reports that the Ricketts Family is in talks to purchase some of the rooftop buildings around the outfield, Fifth Third Bank filed suit against the entities that own two of the rooftop buildings on Sheffield Avenue. You can read the lawsuit – it’s a pretty basic foreclosure suit alleging failure to make payments – and read more about the issue here at the Sun-Times.
It’s no secret that times have probably been tough for at least some of the rooftops in recent years, as they’ve faced the twin blades of poor Cubs performance and negative attitudes toward the rooftops – the latter of which being tied to the Cubs’ efforts to negotiate with the City and rooftops about renovating Wrigley Field. The suit alleges that these two rooftops owe more than $36 million in principal, interest, and fees, which gives you a sense of how much the bank would hope to get if the foreclosure suit proceeds to sale, though a final purchase price would likely be much lower. That just tends to be how these things go.
This could present an opportunity for the Ricketts Family, if they are so inclined, to purchase additional rooftops, which could be integrated more formally into the Wrigley Field experience. As I’ve written before, as the Cubs and the rooftops sparred, the best possible outcome always was a sale of the rooftops to the Ricketts Family, assuming a reasonable price could be reached. Not only might it expand the Wrigley footprint and provide the Ricketts Family with alternative revenue possibilities (and options with respect to the outfield signs), it would remove the specter of litigation down the road as the renovation proceeds. Recall, some of the rooftops are already involved in a suit against the City about their approval of the renovation plan.
It will be interesting to follow the foreclosure suit and see how it impacts the future of these rooftops, and perhaps others.