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Tunney Holds His Ground Opposing Wrigley Renovation

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 7, 2013 10:40PM

Photo Credit: Marcin

The Sun-Times reports Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) “dug in his heels” in response to the latest wrinkle to the Wrigley Field renovation proposed by the Ricketts family. The Rickettses proposed a plan for a 40,000 square-foot Chicago Athletic Club would anchor a Sheraton boutique hotel across the street from the Friendly Confines. CAC would invest $5 million in the project and lease two floors in the planned hotel.

Of course, the hotel and nearly every other aspect of the Cubs renovation plan hinges on whether the city will relax landmark status on Wrigley Field so the ballclub may finally leverage marketing and sponsorships to fund the plan without using city money. Everybody seems to be down with the plan except Tunney, who has long blocked any plan for the Cubs to erect signage inside the ballpark at the behest of the rooftop club owners who rely on their bird’s-eye views of Wrigley for their business.

The rooftop clubs have insisted they have a say in any negotiation regarding relaxing Wrigley Field’s landmark status and revealed a plan in January to erect digital billboards above their buildings that would $17.9 million annually, all of it to be controlled by the Cubs and the city. The Cubs countered by insisting signage inside the ballpark is more valuable to marketers and sponsors because it’s within range of television cameras.

Tunney told the Sun-Times an agreement to add two more summer concerts at Wrigley Field is all the Cubs will get for now and repeated his claim he hasn’t made a final decision on the renovation plan until the Cubs get him a “comprehensive sign package.”