Wrigley Field renovation deadline arrives with no deal

April 1, 2013 8:13:31 PM PDT
Negotiations were under way Monday over a $300 million deal to renovate Wrigley Field.

Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts was at Chicago City Hall, choosing to skip his team's opener in Pittsburgh. Meetings involvingg cubs officials, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office and 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney continue, according to sources. So far, they have not reached a deal- even as Ricketts set Monday as the deadline.

"I did not set the deadline...They did and they're a party to the conversation and I believe when all the parties have something to say, they'll say it," Emanuel said.

Earlier this year, Ricketts said his family was willing to foot the bill for the five-year project if long-standing restrictions on night games and advertising were lifted.

Because of its location in a residential neighborhood, the Cubs are limited to 30 home night games a season and the team can't play night games on Friday or Saturday.

The Cubs areo the only major league team that faces advertising limitations, because of the 99-year-old stadium's status as a historic landmark. It's the oldest ballpark in the majors behind Fenway in Boston.

The Ricketts family wants to remove the restrictions to bring in more revenue to help offset the renovation costs and said an April 1 deal was needed so work could begin by the end of the 2013 season.

The stadium overhaul includes a large increase in restrooms and an expanded concourse. More than 50 million pounds of concrete and steel will be removed.

All of the historical aspects of the field will be retained, including the ivy, center field scoreboard and marquee.

Meanwhile, some have expressed criticism for the delay in reaching a deal. Marc Ganis has worked on dozens of stadium deals around the country. He believes Emanuel plays a key role.

"This is quintessential Chicago and it is among the reasons why Chicago and Illinois have a very poor reputation for bad governance. Everyone believes Mayor Emanuel could step up and say this is the deal, we're getting it through. He's just chosen not to. That's his choice," said Ganis.

And while Cubs officials involved in the negotiations were silent Monday night, Cubs president Theo Epstein said the following before Monday's game in Pittsburg:

"The deal is fundamentally important to get us to the next level as an organization."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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