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Monday, March 18, 2013

Rosemont Cubs? Suburban mayor makes his pitch

As the Chicago Cubs’ quest for a fair stadium refinancing deal continues to drag on with the Wrigleyville community throwing up roadblocks to slow down the settlement process, a new and potentially viable option to Wrigley Field has emerged.

Rosemont mayor Brad Stephens told me this morning in a CSNChicago exclusive that he is willing to give the Cubs and the Ricketts family a 25-acre parcel of land in the village that is a prime piece of real estate large enough to accommodate a new ballpark as well as parking and anything else the Ricketts family would desire to have as a part of the new complex.

“The Chicago Cubs are being held hostage by the neighborhood as they look to run their business. We are willing to offer them a tremendous opportunity if they are interested. Bring the bricks and the ivy and we can get a deal done, ” Stephens told me this morning.

While this is highly unlikely, I for one encourage this type of press for the Cubs in their fight with the roof top owners.  It’s a shame that there actually is a professional team that is trying to pay for their own stadium and is stuck fighting the city over it.

Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: March 18, 2013 at 05:45 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, crime, cubs, gambling, relocation, stadiums

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   1. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: March 18, 2013 at 07:49 PM (#4390764)
Completely agree with Moses Taylor. For frickin' once, a franchise is trying to do things the right way (i.e. pay for their stadium/upgrade instead of soaking the taxpayer), and instead they're getting stonewalled by rooftop holdouts and arcane (read: CORRUPT) city zoning ordinances. The rooftop holdouts have their rights, I suppose -- and they're banking on the Cubs' attachment to historic Wrigley Field in their demands -- but still, the zoning laws are pure BS, and I'd love to see the Cubbies say \"#### it" and move to the NW suburbs, which is where the critical mass of IL Cubs fans reside anyway.
   2. GregD Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:21 PM (#4390789)
Brad Stephens' father was perhaps the crookedest politician in America though he also was never convicted despite longstanding ties to organized crime. The widespread belief was that Sam Giancana created Rosemont as a town to keep up with Capone, whose family was credited with creating Cicero, previously believed to be the most corrupt town in America. The story was that Stephens had started out cleaning Giancana's pools but that may not be true.

Anyway, innocent till proven guilty and sons not responsible for fathers etc etc....but I would be shocked if there isn't some kind of payoff or payback behind this story.
   3. zonk Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:32 PM (#4390794)
Disagree -

Ricketts made this 'offer' in front of fans at a lovefest convention - let's see it on paper... up until this, it was city financing. If he's serious about this offer, then I do change my stance somewhat... That said -

Good luck with being the 'Rosemont Cubs' -- you want to see the Cubs and White Sox achieve parity with revenue, attendance, and whatnot? The noted lack of Trixies and fratboys being all that interested in taking the blue line to Rosemont will make it happen in no time. Like it or not -- the Cubs need the neighborhood more than the neighborhood needs the Cubs. Oh - don't get me wrong - the character of the neighborhood would change, but it's not like it would turn into Austin or anything like that. It's still a prime lakefront area, it's still right next to Lincoln Park, and the neighborhoods immediately north (Buena Park and Andersonville are both rapidly gentrifying) and west (Roscoe Park is also quite nice) are fine without a ballpark anchor.

In fact, I'd expect there are plenty of developers that would start very greedily eying that little grid of Lakeview -- you've got a goodly number of family/condor development to the North, South, and West -- what keeps the area more of a bastion of 4+1 and relatively decent (but not extravagant) apartments is the fact that most people tend to head north, south, and west once they start thinking about having kids.

I've got no love for the rooftop owners -- and I do enjoy living on the periphery of the park (close enough to walk to a game, but far enough away not to deal with the fans pre- and post-)... but this is a bluff that the Cubs won't win.
   4. zonk Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:54 PM (#4390803)
BTW - it ought to be noted, too -- Stephens and Rosemont were reportedly none-too-pleased with DePaul playing footsie with moving basketball back downtown. Rahm has floated building an arena (wholly unnecessary, IMHO) -- and they've apparently had discussions with the United Center about playing home games there once their contract with Rosemont expires in 2015.

The Blue Demons have been playing at the stadium going back to when they were actually a draw 30+ years ago -- but since slipping into NCAA hoops irrelevance, they don't really draw all that well anymore and there are plenty of whispers that something in the city (and more convenient - and thus, more packed - for students) might help with recruiting.

Not saying there's anything to it -- but this smells like a bit of "Oh yeah?!?! Well, we'll take YOUR major tenant!" on the part of Stephens and Rosemont, given the DePaul rumors have been swirling for about 5 months now.
   5. Shredder Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:16 PM (#4390861)
Roscoe Park?
   6. zonk Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:19 PM (#4390863)
Roscoe Park?


Ooops... I should have said Buena Village to square circle.
   7. asinwreck Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:20 PM (#4390921)
I look forward to seeing the Cubs attract thousands to Allstate Field as the jets overhead make Citifield seem quiet and placid.
   8. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:18 AM (#4390958)
Disagree -

Ricketts made this 'offer' in front of fans at a lovefest convention - let's see it on paper... up until this, it was city financing. If he's serious about this offer, then I do change my stance somewhat... That said -


Go back a second - you don't believe this is a legitimate offer from the Ricketts'? Now, it's not like they don't get anything out of it - tax breaks, the extra nights games, landmark restrictions, etc, but you calling bullshit on Rahm too:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel cast himself as a defender of Chicago taxpayer money when he discussed the ongoing negotiations surrounding the Wrigley Field renovation Wednesday.

"The Cubs wanted $200 million in taxpayer dollars. I said, 'No,'" Emanuel said, according to NBC Chicago. "The good news is after 15 months they heard the word, 'No' and so we are at a point there will be no taxpayer subsidies for a private entity."

Emanuel has not signed off on the deal yet entirely, but acknowledged the economic importance of getting the renovation off the ground as soon as possible.

"Wrigley is important to the neighborhood and to the city—or at least a part of the city that likes to go there," Emanuel said according to ESPN.

On Jan. 19, the Ricketts family-owned Chicago Cubs unveiled a lofty renovation plan for the team's home turf, complete with a $300 million price tag that includes a clubhouse, more restrooms and a boutique hotel across from the ballpark.

The Ricketts family pulled a tax subsidy request from the plan but in return wants the city to ease up some restrictions in Wrigleyville, particularly the ones affecting game start times, billboards and signage.


And just because:

In an interview with Crain's Chicago Business, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), whose ward encompasses Wrigleyville, slammed the Ricketts' plan as “a bunch of trial balloons,” and opposes the part of the plan that would add outfield billboards to effectively kill off the rooftop game-watching business.


Boo-frickin-hoo.

Ooops... I should have said Buena Village to square circle.

Maybe the third time's the charm. Also, there's nothing really unique about Wrigleyville without the Cubs and it's not like the market's great for developers, so no, I don't think it's as cut and dry as the Cubs needing them more than they need the Cubs. It's definitely mutually beneficial. If Tunney is concerned about the rooftops - and not his pocketbook - well, really, the Cubs could probably still tell them to #### themselves now. I doubt that agreement is that iron clad.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:44 AM (#4390987)
The Cubs should buy Graceland Cemetery and build a new stadium and mall complex on it. I know, you're thinking they'll be cursed for building on a burial ground but it's the Cubs -- how much worse can it get?
   10. SteveM. Posted: March 19, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4391179)
In the newsclip I saw, the proposed sight overlooked the interstate and the area looked pretty industrial. It would be such a lovely view.
   11. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: March 19, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4391189)
In the newsclip I saw, the proposed sight overlooked the interstate and the area looked pretty industrial. It would be such a lovely view.

Yes, it's right next to O'Hare, and right by the 294/90/190/interchange. A lot of stuff is going up in Rosemont - a new outlet mall, an entertainment area (basically a bunch of bars), plus there's still the convention center and arena. The new park would not be walking distance from the Blue Line stop. But there are a lot of hotels.
   12. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: March 19, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4391225)
I don't know how the guy has time to be the mayor of Rosemont while also coaching the Butler basketball team at the same time.
   13. zonk Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4391242)
Maybe the third time's the charm. Also, there's nothing really unique about Wrigleyville without the Cubs and it's not like the market's great for developers, so no, I don't think it's as cut and dry as the Cubs needing them more than they need the Cubs. It's definitely mutually beneficial. If Tunney is concerned about the rooftops - and not his pocketbook - well, really, the Cubs could probably still tell them to #### themselves now. I doubt that agreement is that iron clad.


I was kidding - somehow my mind have duplicated the Park from Buena over the Village of Roscoe -- but my point was that there's really nothing unique about any of the surrounding neighborhoods which seem to be thriving just fine... Again - it's right up against the Lake and it's sandwich in between a relatively tony (non-Gold Coast) neighborhood and one on a significant gentrification upswing. To its west are other perfectly thriving areas.

Like I said, the nature of the neighborhood would change -- most definitely -- but that change would probably boil down to fewer sports bars and more wine bars.

For better or worse - the Cubs are the attraction they are because they get big crowds that go there for more than baseball.... they're not going to get those crowds in Rosemont, for better or worse.
   14. Swedish Chef Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:13 PM (#4391263)
Sounds very risky, like a normal team the Cubs would have to get good to draw a crowd at a non-Wrigley field.

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