There haven’t been many notable updates to the on-going (and hotly debated) open-air Wrigley Field Plaza lately, but there is some fresh (and good!) news to report on that front, as well as an update to the other developments in the surrounding area.
Working backwards, ground has finally been broken on the 2.3-acre site across the street from Wrigley Field on Clark and Addison (NOTE: this is not the Ricketts Family/Cubs project on the Northwest side of Clark and Addison).
This location, you’ll recall, is set to be the site of 148 luxury apartments and 150,000 square feet of retail space anchored by a 10-screen CMX luxury movie theater. It is an enormous project that is surely set to redefine the area quite a bit. [Brett: insert this-is-why-Mullen’s-is-gone dot sad face]
That said, it was almost quite a bit more significant. Back when this project was in its early stages (2009), Wrigleyville residents were not thrilled with the scope of the project, especially the projected 91-foot height of the structure. M&R Development has since lowered the height below the Wrigley Field roofline, dropped any plans of making it into a hotel, raised the number of residential units (to the 148 I discussed above), and increased the minimum number of parking spaces from 399 to 493.
You can read more about the project here at the Chicago Sun Times, but perhaps the biggest result of the groundbreaking, was the surprising and positive effect it had on Alderman Tom Tunney.
According to Fran Spielman at the Chicago Sun Times, Alderman Tom Tunney – the Cubs’ biggest foe in their fight over the rules for the Wrigley Field Plaza – was “in the mood to celebrate,” following the groundbreaking of a project nearly a decade in the making. So, like a kid asking for ice-cream after their dad’s favorite sports team won, someone asked if Tunney would consider temporarily lifting the ban on the plaza’s 12-event limit for both home and away playoff watch parties.
Tunney left the door open:
“The Cubs will have to ask. [It will depend] where they’re at in terms of the construction. … [But], we’re ready for excitement. My life is always about compromise and about bringing people to tougher. This is gonna be a historic moment,” Tunney said.
That’s quite an open door, in fact, when you consider how strongly he’s fought for the 12-event limit, which notably – and perhaps, purposefully – included playoff watch parties. Whether he was high on celebration or simply loosening his grip on the restrictions, those kinds of public comments (even ones as innocuous as that) could go a long way to excluding playoff watch parties from the 12-event limit/restriction.
That said, the Mayor wasn’t quite as optimistic, avoiding the question by claiming that it was premised on an event that has yet to happen (to which I’d point him to the various 99.9% odds of the Cubs making the playoffs, but I get his point). Although, he did admit that he would work with the owners, the Alderman and the surrounding community to make sure any significant Cubs wins (presumably in October) would be celebrated the right way.
There is still a ton of work to be done on this front, but the conversation seems to be miles looser and more amicable than it has felt in the past. Hopefully, both sides can take this momentum forward and make some notable changes to the current arrangement, which isn’t set to expire for three full years.
As always, we’ll keep you updated.