By Hal Dardick and Ameet Sachdev
6:54 PM CST, February 5, 2013
City Hall is pressing the Chicago Cubs and the owners of nearby rooftop clubs to reach agreement on a sign deal by week’s end, Ald. Thomas Tunney said today.
Such a deal between the Cubs and rooftop owners could be a key component in a proposed $300 million renovation of aging, historic Wrigley Field.
“They are trying to put something together by the end of the week,” said Tunney, 44th, the longtime Wrigleyville alderman. “It’s hard to corral all the interested parties.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has urged the Cubs, owned by the Ricketts family, and the owners of 16 rooftop clubs to come to an agreement so a much bigger rehab deal can get done. The pressure comes amid talk that an ordinance to increase the number of night games and concerts could be introduced at the next council meeting on Wednesday.
The Cubs and rooftop representatives met separately with administration officials at City Hall today — a day after the two sides met face to face, sources said.
“We’re pushing both sides to wrap this up very soon,” said Tom Alexander, a spokesman for the mayor.
The rooftop owners have proposed allowing the Cubs to place signs on their buildings that they say would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the Cubs in the next two decades.
In exchange, the rooftop owners are asking for a nine-year extension on their contract with the ballclub. Under that contract, now set to expire at the end of 2023, the rooftops share 17 percent of their revenue with the team.
The Cubs maintain that signage inside the park would bring in more cash to pay for the rehab, while rooftop owners fear such signs would block their views and put them out of business.
The Cubs also want the city to increase the number of night games and concerts allowed in the park and let the Cubs hold street fairs adjacent to the park.
Wrigleyville residents, in return, want more parking, a greater police presence and a comprehensive plan for traffic.
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