SBD/April 4, 2013/Facilities

Chicago Officials Considering Parking Garage Near Wrigley To Lighten Congestion

Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney yesterday said that the Cubs are "considering construction of a parking garage north" of Wrigley Field to help relieve "parking woes that residents worry would worsen if the city allowed more night games and concerts at the stadium," according to Byrne & Dardick of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. A major sticking point has been the "desire of residents to add parking in the congested neighborhood as part of a deal that includes" a $300M ballpark rehab and a $200M neighborhood development plan. Tunney yesterday noted that the team "owns a gravel lot near Clark and Grace streets and suggested" Cubs Owner the Ricketts family could "build a multilevel garage on the lot." Tunney said the garage "is as big as the stadium." Rooftop owners opposed to outfield signage at the ballpark were "not present" at recent talks between the Cubs and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to discuss the issue. Emanuel, Tunney and the Cubs have said that they want a "comprehensive solution that addresses signage inside the park, on the rooftops and elsewhere in the neighborhood; the hotel development; parking; and security -- as well as permission to stage more night games and concerts." But Tunney yesterday suggested it may be "difficult to resolve all those issues anytime soon" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/4).

LONG WAY TO GO: In Chicago, Fran Spielman notes Tunney "portrayed an agreement as nowhere in sight," two days after Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts' "self-imposed deadline to nail down" a deal to renovate Wrigley and develop property around the stadium. Tunney: "I just think there’s a lot of new issues that have come up over the last couple of weeks that weren’t part of what we were talking about six months ago. Six months ago, there wasn’t the hotel. So now we’ve got a hotel. Things like that" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/4). Also in Chicago, Phil Rogers writes Ricketts and Cubs Senior VP/Community Affairs & General Counsel Mike Lufrano need to be more "efficient in their talks" with Tunney, which "continue as if Monday wasn't really a deadline at all." Not that Emanuel "is surprised." He "never bought into Ricketts family's time frame, and at the end of the day, Emanuel is the guy who is going to get this deal done" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/4).
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