The revamping of Wrigley Field is on again, which means that the Wrigleyville people who enjoy the games from rooftops across the street from the Chicago Cubs’ stadium are likely to be heading to court
Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, whose family owns the team, announced in a video on the team’s website that the $500 million revitalization of the 100-year-old ballpark and the surrounding area is necessary in order to raise revenue to make the Cubs competitive. “Being unable to improve our park puts us in the hole by tens of millions of dollars a year,” Ricketts said.
The plan to be submitted to City Hall calls for expansion of walls and bleachers, signage, additional seating, new lighting, four LED signs of up to 650 suqre feet and a 2,400-square-foot video board in right field. Although the team hopes to get a hearing before the Commission on Chicago Landmarks and to begin work next year, there figures to be what the Chicago Tribune calls a “fierce” fight over the changes.
If approved against what’s sure to be fierce opposition, the changes would put more pressure on the rooftop club owners to reach a deal with the Ricketts family, as team officials acknowledged that more signs could further block rooftop views into Wrigley. Talks between the two sides have proved fruitless after more than a year of negotiations that continued even after city officials signed off on the Cubs’ $500 million plan to remake the historic ballpark and surrounding area. Rooftop owners, who have a revenue-sharing agreement with the team that expires at the end of 2023, countered with their own message: We’ll see you in court.
“Unfortunately, this decision by the Ricketts family will now result in this matter being resolved in a court of law,” said Ryan McLaughlin, spokesman for the Wrigleyville Rooftops Association.