Zoning Committee OKs Wrigley Renovation Plan

$500 million plan scheduled to be taken up by City Council on Wednesday

Tuesday, Jul 23, 2013  |  Updated 8:51 PM CDT
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A Chicago City Council committee has endorsed the $500 million renovation of Wrigley Field, clearing a path for final City Council approval.

A Chicago City Council committee has endorsed the $500 million renovation of Wrigley Field, clearing a path for final City Council approval.

The Chicago City Council's zoning committee on Tuesday approved a $500 million plan to renovate the home of the Cubs and the land surrounding it, albeit with some final changes.

The full council is expected to take up the plan on Wednesday.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said a pedestrian bridge over Clark Street would be "deferred indefinitely." Additionally, he said there would be further discussions as to the location of the entrance to a planned 175-room hotel and that "more public input" was needed about a proposed deck on Sheffield Avenue.

"This has been a collaborative process which has involved significant input from the community," the mayor said in a statement after the committee's vote. "While there is work yet to do, we are continuing to move forward on this plan to bring valuable jobs and economic impact to the Lakeview community without using any taxpayer dollars."

The vote came after closed-door meetings between Cubs officials, the mayor and Ald. Tom Tunney, whose ward includes Wrigley Field.

"With the changes noted, I can now support this planned development," Tunney said. "Our community has achieved many goals and victories through this process. As this project becomes a reality in the coming years, no doubt there will be more issues and details to be debated."

Owners of rooftop businesses adjacent to the park have fought against plans for large signage that would potentially block their views. They're contractually obligated to share 17 percent of their gross revenue with the Cubs through the 2024 season and earlier this spring threatened to sue if that agreement was broken.

Cubs officials went into Tuesday's sessions wanting a promise from rooftop owners that they would never sue, even after the existing contract is satisfied. In exchange, the rooftoppers wanted better guarantees as to the placement of the proposed signs.

A new possibility includes extending the ballpark east over Sheffield Avenue and putting the 650-square-foot, see-through sign there so it would block fewer views. Cubs officials have said they need advertising revenue from the signs to help fund the renovation project, which the team is paying for without public money.

The Chicago Plan Commission approved the renovation last week

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