Wrigley Watch: Cubs wait for pitch to Landmarks Commission

Wrigley Watch: Cubs wait for pitch to Landmarks Commission
June 5, 2014, 5:30 pm
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The Cubs are still waiting to make their pitch to the Chicago Landmarks Commission and finally start the Wrigley Field renovation.

The Cubs didn’t get into Thursday’s hearing after Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed back on the timetable, saying the team didn’t clearly communicate the expanded plans and would have to rework the bricks-and-ivy concepts. That hung over a Wrigley Field news conference announcing the new partnership with CBS Radio Chicago.

“We haven’t gotten a date from the city quite yet,” said Crane Kenney, the president of business operations who wanted to shift the focus back onto the radio deal. “They have (responded). There’s been communication, as there always was between Landmarks and our groups.”

That’s a potential delay to the July target date for beginning the $575 million Wrigleyville development. Cubs spokesman Julian Green said the next scheduled meeting could be next month, adding special hearings can take place under certain circumstances.

“We want to get our approvals first before we start construction,” Green said.

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The city had issues with doubling the size of the Under Armour doors — and disrupting landmarked features — as part of a proposal that would move the bullpens under the left- and right-field bleachers.

“We’re ready. The revised package is done,” Green said. “We’re prepared to take the bullpen doors off the table.”

Green didn’t want to speculate about when the Wrigleyville Rooftop Association might take legal action. It didn’t sound like team executives would give negotiations one more shot.

“Right now, our plan is to move forward,” Green said. “You saw in the last couple weeks we were pretty anxious to get started. We really want to accelerate this process. The fans deserve it. We’ve been talking about this a pretty long time. We think we’re pretty close now.”

As the Cubs try to put up video boards that would block views from the rooftops, the legal fight will be over the language in a 20-year, revenue-sharing contract. But up next should be the Landmarks Commission.

“We still have to get (those) approvals,” Green said. “Whenever that date is set, we’ll be ready. And at the point that we do receive approvals — and we hope we’ll get them — we’re going to be ordering steel and shovels so that we can break ground on this project.”