Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday urged baseball's Chicago Cubs to begin work on a $500-million overhaul of Wrigley Field the city approved last summer.
“They need to get started,” Emanuel told reporters. “The city has lived up to everything it said it was going to do in a timely fashion...and I expect them and other invested interests to resolve their issues so the whole city can benefit.”
Since July, Cubs management repeatedly has expressed reluctance to proceed with the project until it has resolved complaints that renovations would block views of neighborhood rooftop owners, who have contracted with Cubs to keep sight lines open in exchange for a percentage of revenues they receive from providing seating for fans.
Current plans call for funding renovations with additional signage, including a large video board in left field and a script sign in right field that rooftop owners contend violates the contract. Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts says he wants to ensure roof top owners don't sue the organization before proceeding with renovations.
“We agree with the Mayor and we're anxious to move forward,” Cubs Vice President and General Counsel Mike Lufrano told reporters. “We're looking forward to resolving the issues that remain so we can do so quickly.”
In addition to $300 million in renovations to the 99-year-old ball club, the Cubs plan to develop $200 million in hospitality, office and retail space on parcels surrounding the iconic structure.
On Wednesday, Chicago City Council approved further modifications to Wrigley Field, including plans to extend right and left field walls by16 feet in order to expand decks where concessions are sold.