Mayor says he’s ‘not worried’ about Rosemont’s offer to bring Cubs to suburbs
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org March 28, 2013 5:22PM
Updated: May 1, 2013 2:47PM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday he’s “not worried” about Rosemont’s offer to give the Cubs 25 acres of free land to build a Wrigley Field replica and remains confident a deal will get done in Chicago.
Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts is pushing for a resolution of the long-running signage dispute between the Cubs and the rooftops that stands in the way of deal by Monday to avoid losing another construction season.
He won’t be talking to Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens before then, but he’s made no promises if the deadline is not met.
On Thursday, Emanuel said his staff is still working hard to meet the Cubs’ deadline. But the mayor made it clear he’s not exactly quaking in his boots in fear of Rosemont.
“I’m not worried about it. If they want to go to Rosemont — they just announced they’re gonna build a hotel [in Wrigleyville]. And if it was a serious thing, they wouldn’t be at the table negotiating” with Chicago, the mayor said.
Despite the animosity between the Cubs and the rooftops, Emanuel said he’s “encouraged” the two sides are still talking and remains confident that the
$500 million deal will get done.
“In every negotiation, there’s always a moment in which the fog lifts and everybody can see the win,” the mayor said.
“I’ve encouraged the parties to stay talking. I’m encouraged that they stay at the table, that they see the fog lift and see what’s in front of them. We’re not there yet, obviously. April 1st is coming. But I think there’s enough wins there for everybody to declare a victory and have enough to go forward. We’re actively trying to make sure that…all parties see what’s in front of them, the potential and how far they’ve all come to reach, what I think is a good agreement across the board.”
Dennis Culloton, a spokesman for the Ricketts family, agreed with the mayor that a deal is within reach.
“The mayor has shown great leadership in bringing the parties together here — and that’s why the Cubs staff and the family are working very hard with the mayor’s staff and Ald. [Tom] Tunney to get a deal,” Culloton said.
Asked what happens Monday if there is no deal, he said, “We will have that conversation then. Our focus is on getting a deal done with the city. You know what
our deadline is. I’m not gonna speculate on that. We will remain focused on the positive.”
Sources said the final deal is certain to include “some signage” inside the ballpark — including a jumbotron video scoreboard in left field — and “some blockage” of rooftop clubs even after attempts to “minimize” the number of obstructions, sources said.
Emanuel is also prepared to lift the 30-game-per- season ceiling on the number of night games to the 44 or 45 games, with some of the dates reserved for concerts. Six-to-10, 3:05 p.m. starts could also be part of the mix. Wrigleyville residents are likely to get more parking to replace the 400 space-garage that was supposed to be part of a so-called “triangle building” adjacent to the ballpark that the Cubs have
now scrapped in favor of an open-air plaza.
Ricketts has offered to bankroll a $300 million renovation of 99-year-old Wrigley without a public subsidy — and build a $200 million hotel development
on McDonald’s property he purchased across the street from the stadium — if the city agrees to lift restrictions on outfield signs and night games and opens Sheffield Avenue for street fairs on game days.
With Tunney’s support, rooftop clubs that share 17 percent of their revenues with the Cubs have pitched a plan to generate $17.9 million-a-year to bankroll the stadium renovation by putting seven digital signs on top of their buildings instead of inside the ballpark blocking their views.