SBD/Issue 151/Facilities & Venues

Cubs Receive Zoning Approval For Planned Toyota Sign At Wrigley

Cubs Will Only Have To Move Illuminated
Toyota Sign A Few Feet To Satisfy City

The Cubs Friday "gained city zoning approval of the controversial" illuminated Toyota sign the team is planning to install at Wrigley Field by "changing the proposed location" by only a few feet, according to Dizikes & Kamin of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The new plan "places the sign directly behind the bleacher seats, rather than on the back wall of the bleachers -- a difference of about 3 to 6 feet depending on the angle of the wall." Chicago officials said that the change "means that the sign is considered an interior feature rather than an exterior one that might interfere with the 2005 development agreement." The plan also "specifies that the visible structure around the red 'Toyota' lettering and logo will be painted green to match the bleacher seats." Some owners of rooftop seating venues around the ballpark have "objected to the proposed sign, saying it would disrupt the clean lines of the stadium's exterior, which are protected by the city landmark ordinance." But Cubs Senior Dir of Facility Management & Information Technology Carl Rice said that the new plan "raises the sign 3 feet to improve views of the ballpark for rooftop partners beyond left field." Dizikes & Kamin note the sign will not be installed "just yet," as the Cubs "still must gain clearance from the landmarks commission, which meets May 6" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/20).

MASTER PLAN: Preservation group Landmark Illinois yesterday said that the Cubs "should not be permitted to put up" the Toyota sign "without a 'master sign program' for the entire ballpark." Landmark Illinois President Jim Peters said that the '04 ordinance that "landmarked the ballpark's 'historic elements' required a master sign program that has not been delivered." Interior signs at the ballpark "have been approved on a piecemeal basis," but Peters said, "If you do it piecemeal, you have no idea what's next or where. You could be left with a series of signs that wouldn't be compatible with the ballpark." Cubs Senior VP/Community Affairs & General Counsel Mike Lufrano said that the piecemeal approach "was not the team's call," and that the Cubs are "'willing to discuss' a master sign program." But Lufrano added, "That's a longer-term discussion that should not stand in the way of this sign" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/20).

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