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Emanuel: Wrigley Renovations 'Need To Get Started'

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 13, 2013 3:00PM

2013_10_23_emanuel.jpg The Chicago City Council tied up numerous loose ends related to the Cubs’ $500 million to renovate Wrigley Field Wednesday but Mayor Rahm Emanuel had some pointed words for team chairman Tom Ricketts after the meeting.

“They need to get started,” Emanuel said. “I was clear and unambiguous with the ownership about that.”

The Rickettses have insisted they won’t begin the renovation project unless they receive assurances from the rooftop clubs surrounding Wrigley Field that they won’t sue to prevent the Cubs from installing a Jumbotron in left field and a smaller static sign in right field intended to leverage the revenue the club says it needs to finance the project without taxpayer money. One of the details passed by City Council at Wednesday’s meeting was a proposal to cede parts of Sheffield and Waveland Avenues to the ballclub and move the outfield walls back. This would allow the Cubs to install the signs without blocking the views of the rooftop clubs who share 17 percent of their revenue with the ballclub.

The Sun-Times notes there are two rooftop clubs on Sheffield holding out because their views would be blocked by the right field sign. Behind the scenes, Emanuel is talking tough to the rooftop owners, as well. WSCR-AM afternoon host Dan Bernstein, citing sources, said the Emanuel administration is telling the rooftop clubs their obstinacy to the signs needs to stop as they want the Cubs to begin renovations as soon as possible and, should the rooftop owners follow through with a lawsuit, a protracted and costly legal battle will ensue that won’t be in their best interests.

Alderman Tom Tunney (44th), whose ward includes Wrigley Field, concurred with the mayor and said the renovations need to begin.

“I would emphasize that the Cubs need to start the work as soon as possible…They need to do the renovation to be at Wrigley Field, to be in Chicago and to be in a LakeView, which has been phenomenally supportive,” Tunney said.

Cubs Vice President and General Counsel Mike Lufrano said the team agrees with Emanuel.

”We appreciate the tremendous amount of energy from the city, Ald. Tunney and the community that it has taken to get us to this point. We want to get started and we’re looking forward to resolving the issues that remain so we can do so quickly.”