CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs released a revised plan for Wrigley Field’s renovation Tuesday that calls for new signs, including some that would block the view from nearby rooftop venues, and warns that the team’s management would consider moving to another site if they are not allowed to “control our ballpark.”
The updated plans for Wrigley Field and developing the land around it come days after the team announced it would no longer seek the approval of the plans from the rooftop owners, who charge fans to sit in bleachers atop their buildings.
“If we don’t control our ballpark, then we have to look at other options, and we would work with the city on that,” Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said. “We would first look in the city.”
The 15 rooftop owners, who have spent millions of dollars on their venues and have a contract with Cubs through 2023 requiring them to pay the team 17 percent of their gross annual revenue, have threaten to sue over any changes at the ballpark that would obstruct their views of the playing field. Under renderings released Tuesday, some of the signs would fully block views of the field from rooftops.
Last summer, the City Council approved the Cubs’ $500 million renovation plan for the 100-year-old ballpark. The new plan would add $75 million to the price tag. Proposed addition features include a 30,000-square-foot clubhouse in a two-level basement beneath an outdoor plaza, a 200-seat restaurant and a 200-seat auditorium behind the home dugout. The revised plan would also add several rows of bleacher seats and others would be created by relocating the home and visiting bullpens from foul territory to an area beneath the expanded bleachers.
Last week, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said the team’s negotiations with the rooftop owners are “back to square one” and that it’s time to move forward.
Ricketts said in a video posted on the team’s website that the team hopes to avoid a court fight, but it is more important for his family to “exercise our right to expand and preserve the ballpark we own and love.”
Rooftop spokesman Ryan McLaughlin couldn’t be reached Tuesday for comment on the new designs.
Kenney said the team has been working with city officials on the revised plan, which is slated to go before the Commission on Chicago Landmarks on June 5.
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