Wrigley Renovation Talk Deflected in Annual Pre-Opening Day Meeting

Cubs have self-imposed April 1 deadline to have deal with the city on five-year, $300 million renovation project

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Ald. Tom Tunney, whose ward includes Wrigley Field, defelected all talk about the proposed $300 million project to Cubs representatives.

    Tuesday evening's regularly-scheduled, annual community meeting in advance of the Chicago Cubs' opening day was a prime example of the elephant in the room.

    While the scheduled topics were those discussed every year -- police patrols, parking issues and public urination -- it was the proposed multi-million dollar renovation of Wrigley Field that was on the minds of most.

    Ald. Tom Tunney, whose ward includes Wrigley Field, defelected all talk about the proposed $300 million project to Cubs representatives.

    They, in turn, danced around specifics.

    "We're hopeful that we can come to a conclusion on some of these issues and put a good deal that's good for the city of chicago -- $500 million investments, 2100 jobs -- we think that's a great thing to bring to the city of Chicago," said Cubs spokesman Julian Green, expressing hope that a deal could still be made by the organization's self-imposed deadline of April 1.

    The Cubs earlier this year proposed the five-year plan to renovate the Friendly Confines, even offering to fully fund it all if the city would relax some of its rules on advertising, concerts, and night games.

    Rooftop owners, who currently share 17 percent of their profits with the team, expressed concern that any new billboards on the stadium would block their views and devastate their business. The Wrigley Rooftop Association offered a compromise -- digital screens on their buildings instead of the stadium itself -- but team officials weren't fond of that idea.

    "I was very encouraged by what [Executive Vice President, Community Affairs/General Counsel] Michael Lufrano from the Cubs said about us working together," said Nancy Murphy of Murphy's Bleachers. "When we put our heads together we put up with better solutions. That's what I've been saying from the beginning.

    Tunney remains committed to finding a compromise. He's fond of saying he'd much prefer a struggle over the specifics of economic development, restoring Wrigley Field for another generation, than the problems Lakeview would have without it.