If you're thinking we've been here before, we have been here. Before. And before, and before, and...
Per a recent agreement between the team and City Hall, the Cubs would be granted an expansion of its property line 25 feet closer to the street than it is now. In return, the team would remove from its plan a pedestrian bridge over Clark Street and a patio deck over Patterson Street connected to a planned hotel, as well as shift the entrance of the hotel from Patterson to Clark Street. New to the plan now is a "brand arch" stretching over Clark Street between Patterson and Addison Streets — an idea that was floated in community meetings earlier this year. That will allow the team to sell ads for a gateway structure while appeasing community concerns about people walking dropping items into traffic that existed for the pedestrian bridge: "It's a welcoming arch. It's sort of going to be the demarkation of what we hope will be an exciting plaza and a great place for the community," said Cubs Executive Vice President for Community Affairs Mike Lufrano.
Let's be honest, shall we? It's not just a "welcoming arch", it's an "advertising arch" that can contain more ad space that can make more money for the Cubs. I really don't have a problem with this, as long as the money is plowed back into making the Cubs a better team, which they really need to be... soon. (The image at the top of this post isn't precisely what this "arch" would look like; it's an older rendering the Cubs passed out that shows the previously-proposed, now-nixed pedestrian bridge. If I get a rendering of the newly-proposed arch, I'll post it here.)
The remainder of the article talks about Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and his concerns about the parking spaces that would be lost with the narrowing of Sheffield Avenue. (On this one issue, I'm with Tunney.) The Cubs say they're going to work with residents and perhaps offer them parking in Cubs-owned parking lots, if necessary. Beyond that:
With approval from both the Landmarks and Plan Commissions, the tweaks to the project must now pass through City Council zoning committee and the full City Council before the team can get to work. Of course, whether they actually begin work is uncertain even if it passes next month. The Cubs have yet to apply for a permit to begin work any of the approved major renovation projects in part because of potential legal issues with its rooftop partners. Mr. Lufrano said today he is "encouraged" by discussions with the Wrigleyville Rooftop Association, "but nothing I'd say, is different."
Same old, same old. Same as it ever was. On and on. The Cubs had hoped to begin construction this offseason, but clearly, that's not going to happen, except:
The team has said it may begin construction of its controversial right field advertising sign even if they face a stalemate with rooftop owners because of its newly-signed marketing deal with Anheuser Busch InBev.
Well, that'll be interesting. See you next time for another installment of "As The Ballpark Turns."