NBC Chicago reports that Rahm Emanuel’s hissy fit at the Ricketts family notwithstanding, talks are ongoing over the Chicago Cubs‘ proposed $500 million renovation of Wrigley Field. At least, talks with Chicago alderman Tom Tunney, who’d previously dissed the renovation plans for possibly disrupting his Lakeview neighborhood (and the rooftop businesses across from Wrigley that donate to his campaign), now says he’s been talking weekly with the team, though he didn’t say whether anyone from the mayor’s office has been involved.
Other tidbits from Tunney:
- Emanuel has “pretty much put a lid” on public funding, at $125 million in amusement taxes to be kicked back to the team. If true, that’s a bit less than the $150 million that the Cubs were demanding, and even less than that when you factor in that the Rickettses also wanted to be allowed to keep all ticket-tax revenue over the first 6% increase, which could have been a huge publicly funded windfall for the team. Though it’s unclear whether Emanuel (and Tunney) would okay the gratis use of public streets by the Cubs on game days, which if Boston’s experience is any guide could end up being the equivalent of a $75 million public subsidy.
- Tunney thinks the best way to do the renovation might be to shut down Wrigley for a year or so: “To be honest with you, whatever is the most economical, and that might mean the interruption.” That would seem to run counter to the Cubs owners’ plans to model their renovation after Fenway Park’s, which was done in phases over several offseasons, and would require the Cubs to play at the White Sox‘ stadium for a season or so, which would surely be unpopular all around.
Tunney’s words need to be taken with a heaping helping of salt — after all, he’s not the guy who’s going to end up negotiating this deal.As the alderman representing the district, though, he has a huge role to play in deciding whether or not to throw roadblocks in front of any deal. So if he’s potentially on board, that’s one less thing for the Rickettses to worry about, once they can get the mayor to stop screening their calls.