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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Mayor Emanuel: Wrigley renovation talks in ‘final stages’

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.

Emanuel de Grouchy has spoken!

Repoz Posted: April 04, 2012 at 07:33 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, cubs, history

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Cabbage Posted: April 04, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4096332)
I'm neither liberal, nor a supporter of Chicago machine politics. But so far, I'm impressed as hell by Rahm.
   2. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 04, 2012 at 09:57 AM (#4096368)
Tom Ricketts has zero leverage in this negotiation, since without the iconography of Wrigley Field and the atmosphere of Wrigleyville, his franchise's value plummets. The city should streamline the approval process for his building permits, and nothing else.
   3. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4096373)
...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.


Why not take that $200 million and use it to renovate Wrigley?
   4. Brian C Posted: April 04, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4096394)
I'm neither liberal, nor a supporter of Chicago machine politics. But so far, I'm impressed as hell by Rahm.

Yeah, Rahm looks like a good one. I voted for him precisely because I wanted a relentless technocrat in the office and it looks like I got one.

In other news, check out that rightfield bleacher photo in the article sidebar - looks like there's ivy for Opening Day. That's no surprise given the crazy-warm winter and spring, but still it's jarring to see it so early.
   5. zonk Posted: April 04, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4096404)
I'm neither liberal, nor a supporter of Chicago machine politics. But so far, I'm impressed as hell by Rahm.


Eh, the Chicago machine isn't monolithic... You can't avoid being from Chicago and crossing paths with the Daleys, and if you want to get anywhere, you probably have to work with them, or even for them, at some point... but I don't know that I'd necessarily call Rahm part of the Chicago 'machine'. He's more of the Mayor Bossy/Jane Byrne flavor of north side liberal, willing to play nice with the old south side power base - but recognizing when it's at low tide and time to split. Slow Eddie Burke is pretty much all that remains of the old Chicago machine -- and his guy, Gery Chico, got crushed.

Personally, I voted for Miguel del Valle - but I was fine with Rahm winning (I'd have backed him in the runoff, I didn't figure del Valle would get a ticket into a possible round 2) and I'd tend to agree that he's been pretty good.

Even as a Cubs fan living in the neighborhood - I am encouraged by this statement from Rahm... The recent city government tack has been to generally shower the commercial enterprises with sweetheart deals and gifts, while ever-increasing the burden on residents (either through fees or city services cuts), so this is indeed something I'm happy to hear.
   6. McCoy Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4096493)
Tom Ricketts has zero leverage in this negotiation, since without the iconography of Wrigley Field and the atmosphere of Wrigleyville, his franchise's value plummets. The city should streamline the approval process for his building permits, and nothing else.

Yes, because all those other teams with brand new stadiums saw their value plummet.
   7. McCoy Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4096494)
Patio looks really really small and pointless.
   8. phredbird Posted: April 04, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4096589)
i ... had no idea rahm emanuel was mayor of chicago. i remember hearing that he was going to run a while back, but then nothing. i've got to get out of this basement now and then.
   9. zonk Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4096613)
Not just mayor, but Rahmfather*...

*I generally find Kass to be an infuriating, assembled by Foxconn in China, knock-off copy of the immortal Mike Royko -- but the Rahmfather saga was good stuff.
   10. Eddo Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4096678)
Yes, because all those other teams with brand new stadiums saw their value plummet.

Not necessarily saying you're wrong, but which of those teams had so much value tied up to their location and stadium prior to building their new ones? The Yankees? I'd argue their value was much more tied into winning than their stadium.
   11. Brian C Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4096804)
I don't think there's any question that they could credibly threaten to move - inevitably, suburbs would start tripping over themselves to work out a deal to build a new stadium. This will be especially true if/when the economy is in full recovery.

And I don't think there's any question that the franchise value would be OK in the long term. In the long run, I'm not sure how big of a revenue-generator Wrigley really is - attendance is good and they get some rooftop money now, but a lot of money is spent in the surrounding area as opposed to in the stadium itself. They have minimal parking revenue, the luxury boxes aren't up to modern standards in either number or quality, there's much less room for advertising, and their concession and retail options are limited.

Basically, I think that all that's keeping them in Wrigley is that the owners genuinely have a good-faith desire to keep them there. The political blowback would be harsh if they left, but it would blow over.
   12. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:29 PM (#4096831)
“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.

It's not your money, Rahm.
   13. McCoy Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4096843)
Not necessarily saying you're wrong, but which of those teams had so much value tied up to their location and stadium prior to building their new ones? The Yankees? I'd argue their value was much more tied into winning than their stadium.

The only teams without a new stadium or a major renovation in the last 20 odd years are the Red Sox (have put in lots of work on the stadium), Cubs, and A's (I don't think we want to call Mt. Davis an improvement). The Cubs are the only team in baseball that have so much value tied up in their current old stadium and location? I doubt it. Like Brian mentioned the Cubs are leaving a lot of money on the table by staying in Wrigley. They can move and take a hit in attendance and still see their revenue greatly increase.

The Red Sox took over part of a street, expanded seating, and created many more food spots. You might just call their 10 year project a major renovation.
   14. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4096856)

It's not your money, Rahm.


Well, some of it is.

If any city can take a hardline against greedy baseball owners, its Chicago with the Cubs. Don't budge an inch.
   15. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4096861)
The Cubs are the only team in baseball that have so much value tied up in their current old stadium and location?


Well, the Red Sox too, but yes.
   16. Brian C Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4096862)
It's not your money, Rahm.

As an actual constituent of his, I want to say that I'm OK with his choice of rhetoric here.
   17. zonk Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4096867)

The only teams without a new stadium or a major renovation in the last 20 odd years are the Red Sox (have put in lots of work on the stadium), Cubs, and A's (I don't think we want to call Mt. Davis an improvement). The Cubs are the only team in baseball that have so much value tied up in their current old stadium and location? I doubt it. Like Brian mentioned the Cubs are leaving a lot of money on the table by staying in Wrigley. They can move and take a hit in attendance and still see their revenue greatly increase.


Could they?

I think a suburban Cubs team lose a ton of cachet, but short and long-term. Most of the teams that built new stadiums out in the burbs didn't have an urban presence - and the ones that did, stayed urban. The Cubs are much more tied to their neighborhood, I think than any other team.

For plenty of good and bad reasons, I just don't see the neighborhood fan base ever letting them get change parks -- I think they'd pretty much be stuck doing a major renovation... maybe an all-but-gut renovation, but I can't foresee the Cubs ever not being on clark/addison.
   18. Brian C Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4096903)
I think a suburban Cubs team lose a ton of cachet, but short and long-term. Most of the teams that built new stadiums out in the burbs didn't have an urban presence - and the ones that did, stayed urban. The Cubs are much more tied to their neighborhood, I think than any other team.

Well, they have three scenarios here:

1) Stay at Wrigley mostly as is,
2) Stay in Wrigley with substantial renovations
3) Build a new park somewhere else

If the choice is between 2 and 3, then I agree that 2 is an easy choice for them. But if it's between 1 and 3 ... well, I think the Rickettses have a lot of leverage in that scenario.

I mean, I don't ever see them leaving either, because they'll either amicably work something out with the city, or the city will cave when the possibility of the team leaving starts to look real. And option 2 seems to be the team's clear goal, so the odds are good they'll figure out how to get it. But one way or the other, the Ricketts family looks serious about getting something done. And it looks like Rahm sees the situation pretty clearly.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4096917)
If the Cubs move to the burbs, could the White Sox move to Wrigley?

Or the A's?
   20. BeanoCook Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:04 PM (#4097433)
How did the Red Sox pay for the commercial development surrounding Fenway? Or did they not pay?

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