Wrigley Renovations - Rahm: Deal 'A Few Feet Away'

Courtesy Chicago Cubs

Could there be a somewhat smaller Jumbotron agreed to by everyone in the Wrigley renovation negotiations? Sounds like it, if you listen to Chicago's mayor carefully.

Thursday, there will be a meeting before the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to discuss the two most contentious issues regarding the Wrigley Field renovations -- the proposed Jumbotron in left field and the "see-through" sign in right field.

Tuesday, at an unrelated news conference, Mayor Rahm Emanuel hinted a Wrigley deal might be getting close:

"We're just a few feet away — I mean, literally, a few feet away — from a win-win situation," Emanuel said Tuesday.

That would appear to be a direct reference to the proposed video screen in left field and a large advertising sign in right field — the only two items in the Cubs' Wrigley rehabilitation project not approved during the last meeting of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

The Cubs have insisted they need a 6,OOO-square-foot Jumbotron and a 1,OOO-square-foot strip sign to generate the ad revenue to pay for the $5OO million Wrigley rehab project. But Ald. Tom Tunney has called the advertising on such signs "a quality-of-life issue" for Wrigleyville residents and has suggested shrinking them.

Emanuel said Tuesday the sides recently had "a very good meeting," but took no sides on the issue.

It doesn't take much effort to read between the lines of Rahm's statement -- this would appear to me to mean that all parties involved are trying to come up with sizes for the two signs that would be satisfactory to everyone.

I've said for some time that the proposed 6,000-square-foot size of the Cubs' proposal is too overwhelmingly large for the site. If they shrink it down to, say, 4,000 or 4,500 square feet, that should still give the Cubs the advertising space they seek, while both protecting the rooftop views and also making the board to a scale more commensurate with the footprint of Wrigley Field.

We should know a lot more about this by Thursday.

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