No surprise: the Chicago Cubs front office and owners of rooftop bleachers are still disagreeing over proposed changes to Wrigley Field that could impact the views from beyond the ballpark.
It’s a symbiotic relationship to be sure: the Cubs provide the action, and the rooftop owners pay 17 percent of their revenues to sell remote seating on rooftop bleachers. But the renovation plan proposed by the Cubs and already approved by the city could impact the views from the bleachers, though the Cubs say they’ve already gone the extra mile by downsizing a proposed videoboard and perhaps moving it a rooftop location outside Wrigley Field proper.
That plan has been scrapped, and the Cubs upped the ante by saying they’d apply to put in a 650-square-foot see-through sign in right field. Not surprisingly, the rooftop owners are pissed — and the whole matter may end up in court, per the Chicago Sun-Times:
“When I got into this, I was told right field was the problem. We solved the right field. Only in the last three or four days did the left-field [rooftop] owners come in and say, ‘We’re not done yet,’ ” said Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), who has brokered the talks at the request of the mayor.
“They said the way in which the sign lined up on the left field wall diminished their view to the point where they didn’t feel they could live with it. They would have been happy to have the sign reduced or have the sign moved across the street. They would have been happy to do anything to make the sign less impactful. The Cubs were looking at ways to reduce the potential monetary loss but not necessarily do things to the sign.”
Years of bad blood between the Cubs and rooftop club owners who share 17 percent of their revenues with the team also were resurrected by two recent developments: disparaging remarks about the rooftops owners made by Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts at last weekend’s Cubs convention; and club owners’ decision to file a defamation lawsuit against a stadium financing consultant who once advised the Cubs’ prior owner, the Tribune Co.
The Cubs says they’ve jumped through every hoop set forth by the city for a renovation plan that will widen the ballpark’s concourses, upgrade the suite level, add a plaza outside the ballpark and renovate the exterior, among other things. However, the Cubs ownership says they won’t begin renovations until a deal with the rooftop owners is struck — and it could take years to resolve a lawsuit.
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