City Hall and the Cubs announced an agreement Sunday to renovate iconic Wrigley Field, a $500 million plan that gets owner Tom Ricketts nearly everything he sought, even as it leaves questions about the impact on rooftop owners and the neighborhood.
The framework, reached over the weekend after weeks of daily closed-door negotiations that capped years of wrangling, clears the way for the Cubs to submit formal plans for the ballpark rehab and a nearby hotel and office building that ownership contends are needed to raise the money necessary to help turn the long-suffering team into a contender.
If all goes as planned, Mayor Rahm Emanuel will have helped engineer a major economic boost for the city without a hit on taxpayers. Ricketts gets more night games and lucrative advertising signs, even if some of his plans were scaled back a bit. Less certain is the plan’s effect on owners of rooftop clubs, some of whom could see their views partially blocked as the clock ticks down on their agreement with the team.
The outcome also is less clear for Ald. Thomas Tunney, 44th, who played a key role in negotiations.
For the rest of Chicago, the agreement is a signal that the 99-year-old stadium, loved for its old-time charm but reviled for its ancient amenities, will enter a new era that Emanuel characterized as a major victory.