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Wrigley Expansion Plan Would Block Rooftops

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Oct 27, 2004 4:47PM

Architect Pat Fitzgerald has concluded that the Chicago Cubs' proposed bleacher expansion plans would obstruct some of all of the views from six of the 13 rooftop surrounding Wrigley Field -- and change the neighborhood backdrop from inside the park. The Cubs are currently looking to gain approval for a 1,980-seat bleacher expansion. The Cubs have already bowed to pressure and cut 520 from the original proposal.

Complicating the approval process is opposition from both the rooftop owners -- who want to keep their businesses -- and from the city -- that wants to preserve the picturesque vistas unique to Wrigley.

The rooftop owners, who signed an agreement with the ballclub to pay 17% of revenue, made $17 million dollars by charging people up to $150 to view games. The Cubs' take amounted to about $3 million. "The agreement requires the Cubs to pay 17 percent of the cost of any rooftop expansion -- the same percentage of profits that rooftops now share with the Cubs -- if additional bleacher seats obstruct rooftop views."

Some within city hall also want to protect the current atmosphere, with Planning & Development Commissioner Denise Casalino and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) saying "they wanted Wrigley bleachers expanded in a way that allows 70 percent of fans seated in the grandstand to see the third floor of neighborhood buildings." Such a requirement would reduce the expansion plans an additional 180 seats.

Chicagoist thinks the Cubs should be able to do whatever they deem is best for their team and stadium, and that they stop having to put up with those pesky rooftop owners and idealistic city hall bureaucrats. The owners' views into the park are a lucky coincidence, not a constitutional right. Chicagoist has always opposed the idea of the rooftops becomming big business. They were quaint when it was a couple guys in lawn chairs with a cooler of beer, but now they're simply leaches trying to profiteer from a demand that exceeds supply when it comes to Cubs tickets. The Cubs, the ones paying the players, are trying to increase their revenue in order to keep pace with increasing major league payrolls and they're having to fight people who running businesses selling somebody else's product. Sure the Cubs made $3 million last year, but if they can make more expanding their own park then they should have every right to do so.