Wrigley Rooftop Owners Threaten to Sue if Signage Blocks Views

Rooftop owners have 11 years remaining on their 17 percent profit-sharing agreement with the Cubs

By BJ Lutz
|  Friday, Apr 5, 2013  |  Updated 5:03 PM CDT
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Rooftop Owners Threaten to Sue if Signage Blocks Views

Flickr/Wisley

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Members of the Wrigleyville Rooftops Association said they'll go to court if the Chicago Cubs and city officials seal a deal that includes new signage that would block their views.

Though nothing had been finalized in the hours heading into the weekend, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), whose ward includes Wrigley Field, told the Chicago Tribune's editorial board he believed a new video scoreboard would be part of the deal.

Depending on the size of that scoreboard, views from the rooftops surrounding the Friendly Confines could be obstructed, and that would be in direct violation of the 20-year agreement the small business owners entered with the Cubs and the city several years ago.

"Rooftop owners reserve the right to use any and all means necessary to enforce the remaining 11 years of our 20-year contract," said Beth Murphy, the owner of Murphy's Bleachers and a spokeswoman for the Wrigleyville Rooftops Association.

Rooftop owners currently share 17 percent of their profits with the Cubs.

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts offered months ago to pay for the five-year, $300 million project without taxpayer help if the city agreed to relax some rules on advertising, concerts and night games. The two sides had hoped a deal would have been made by Monday, April 1. That didn't happen, and sources said the team's self-imposed deadline had been extended a week.

Sources close to the negotiations told NBC Chicago on Thursday that talks were "promising" and that an agreement may be signed, sealed and delivered by Monday's home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers. They said the Cubs were close to getting approval for more night games and concerts and were open to footing the bill for a new parking garage and additional police protection in the dense residential neighborhood.

Murphy said rooftop association members were "deeply troubled" they've been excluded from the talks.

"We support a renovated Wrigley Field, but the neighborhood and its businesses should be partners in the debate as we have over the last 30 years," she said. 

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