Arguing the value of their businesses would plummet in violation of a contract with the Chicago Cubs, owners of eight rooftop bleachers filed suit against the city over planned renovations to Wrigley Field.
The lawsuit from the owners of the eight rooftop-bleacher businesses was not unexpected after the owners association failed to come to an agreement with the Cubs after the city last month approved the plan for additional signage at the ballpark as part of a $375-million renovation plan. Since then the team has laid out the timeline for Wrigley Field improvements. The first part will take place after the end of the season and include an expanded clubhouse, expanded bleachers (including the addition of party areas near each foul line), a new videoboard in left field and other new signage. The second part of the renovations will take place after the 2015 season and include a new visitors clubhouse, the relocation of bullpens, and a new gate on the west side of the ballpark.
Of course, the rooftop bleacher owner are concerned about their business. Their position: they have a contract with the Cubs, and the city is working to reduce that contract to nothing. Though the Cubs are not a party to the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court, the lawsuit is full of references to the team trying to buy out the bleacher owners at a reduced value. From the Chicago Sun-Times:
“The rooftops possess a legally protected interest in their views of Wrigley Field,” the rooftop owners — who have a revenue-sharing agreement with the Cubs — wrote in Thursday’s suit, which seeks to block the improvement project.
They also accused the team of using strong-arm tactics by attempting to coerce them into selling their businesses.
“Shortly after the commission announced its . . . decision, the Cubs told the rooftops they could either sell their businesses to the Cubs for a fraction of both cost and fair market value or have their businesses destroyed when the Cubs block their views,” the court filing states.
RELATED STORIES: Wrigley Field upgrades approved by city; Wrigley neighbors: We don’t want ballpark upgrades; Rooftop owners offer Wrigley Field compromise; city to discuss issue this week; Wrigley Field renovations back on hold; Cubs end negotiations with rooftop owners, expand Wrigley Field renovations; Rooftop owners, Cubs disagree over Wrigley Field renovations; Cubs to add more night games; beer plaza in question; Cubs test sign placement; rooftop owners not happy; Ricketts: No Wrigley renovations without rooftop-bleacher deal; Wrigley Field upgrades approved by City Council; Cubs win big battle: Landmark Commission approves Wrigley Field signage
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