Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who cut off communications with the Ricketts family as part of a political spat, says the city can work with the Chicago Cubs on a Wrigley Field renovation plan as presented.
Over the last two weeks the Cubs have made various announcements on their proposed plan for Wrigley Field renovations, including a dramatic overhaul of the ballpark's seating bowl and grandstand, as well as an external makeover and the building of a new 175-room hotel. Stung by previous requests for public assistance, Cubs ownership says they'll pay for the $300-million renovation on their own, but will need help and approval from the city to make changes to the historic facility.
Which sounds like it could happen quickly. From the Chicago Tribune:
"I want to ensure that it continues that kind of economic vital, important role that it plays in the North Side of the city of Chicago and that community, which is why I'm also pleased they're also putting a hotel up," Emanuel said at a news conference to announce additional funding for agencies that provide free income tax preparation. "So I've asked all the parties involved to finish this up. We all have a stake in getting it done. It is not done till all the parts fall in place."
One key player in this process: Ald. Tom Tunney, who represents Wrigleyville and who has been a tough negotiator against the Cubs, often acting as an advocate of the owners of apartments buildings surrounding the ballpark. The Cubs want to put up more advertising in the ballpark, which could impact the views of fans in rooftop bleachers. There's been talk that the Cubs could buy out or enter into a revenue-sharing deal to address any financial losses suffered by the building owners. In addition, the Cubs are seeking more concerts and evening events -- events that are never too popular with Wrigleyville citizens.
Rendering courtesy of the Chicago Cubs.
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