SBD/July 11, 2014/Facilities

Cubs Win Approval For Wrigley Renovations, No Longer Concerned About Rooftop Owners

Approval of the Wrigley renovations came without discussion among the panel
The Cubs on Thursday received approval from the Commission of Chicago Landmarks "to put up a total of seven signs above the bleachers at Wrigley Field and move its bullpens beyond the outfield walls," according to Danny Ecker of CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS. The panel also "unanimously approved a series of tweaks to the renovation plan it approved last year," clearing the way for the Cubs to begin work on the $575M renovation plan. The panel ruled that the new plan "fit within the guidelines of the landmarked 'sweep and contour' of the bleachers and 'open air character' of the outfield because the bottom of the signs and top of the bleachers will retain a buffer of space." The team now has the city's "blessing to put up three 650-square-foot advertising signs above the left field bleachers as well as a 3,990-square-foot video board." There also will be "two more ad signs and a 2,400-square-foot video board above the right field stands." The Cubs additionally won approval to "erect two new light structures beyond the left and right field foul poles." The Commission's approval "came despite an attempt" by Alderman Tom Tunney to "delay the vote." But the question remains whether members of the Wrigleyville Rooftop Association "will take the team to court over the new signs -- and if so, how soon" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 7/10). Cubs VP/Communications & Community Affairs Julian Green after the approval was given said that "major work on the renovations would start after the season." He added construction of the signs "will depend on how quickly advertisers step up" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/11). USA TODAY's Aamer Madhani writes under the header, "Cubs Finally Win -- The OK To Renovate" (USA TODAY, 7/11).

CUBS READY FOR ROOFTOP OWNERS: In Chicago, Hopkins & Sachdev in a front-page piece note the rooftop owners' contention is that the approved signs "violate their contract with the club" and have the potential to "kill their business." Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney on Thursday said that the team "is no longer concerned with assurances from rooftop owners that they won't sue." He added, "In short, we are ready to go." Hopkins & Sachdev note despite testimony "from more than a dozen people, including 20 minutes by an attorney representing rooftop owners, the commission's vote came quickly and without discussion among the panel." Much of the construction "is expected to begin after this season." Thursday's decision "gives the team a clear advantage" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/11). 
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