Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday declared he’s in the “final stages” of talks on a plan to renovate historic Wrigley Field, catching off-guard stakeholders from the North Side to City Hall to Springfield.
Lest too much hope spring eternal on the cusp of Opening Day, all parties involved cautioned a deal isn’t imminent and several hurdles would have to be overcome.
“The conversations have been productive, but there is no agreement at this time,” Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said hours after the mayor made his comments.
Emanuel in recent weeks has been pushing the need to rebuild Chicago. But the issues at Wrigley have lingered for years as two team owners have stressed the need to fix the crumbling ballpark and modernize amenities like bathrooms, kitchens and concourses.
...In late 2010, new Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts struck out with his idea of using future gains in city and county ticket taxes to help pay for the stadium’s face lift. That, Ricketts said, would allow the family to invest $200 million to develop land near the ballpark into offices, restaurants and retail.
That idea has been a non-starter with Emanuel, and it didn’t appear much had changed Tuesday when the mayor was asked about the status of Wrigley talks ahead of Thursday’s season opener against the Washington Nationals.
“I will not put my money in their field so they can take their money and invest around the field and get greater economic value,” Emanuel said.