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Cubs, Rooftop Owners Likely Headed To Court

The two sides have been talking, but those negotiations broke down this week.

Al Yellon

If you've been waiting for a quick resolution to the dispute between the Cubs and the owners of the rooftop clubs on Waveland and Sheffield, that isn't going to happen, writes Fran Spielman in the Sun-Times:

... sources said remarks made by Ricketts and Team President Crane Kenney at last week’s Cubs’ convention mirrored Ganis’ remarks and angered the rooftop owners.

On Tuesday, yet another negotiating session was held and it did not go well. Sources said the rooftop owners demanded that the massive video scoreboard planned for left-field also be moved to the top of a rooftop building.

Cubs spokesman Julian Green was tight-lipped about the team’s intentions.

But he issued a statement that left little doubt the matter would be resolved in court.

"We have worked hard to reach a resolution with our rooftop partners which would have helped preserve their views, including reducing the number, size and location of signs. Unfortunately, they opted yesterday to reject the proposal and file this lawsuit," Green said.

"Since our approvals last year, we have been anxious to get the Wrigley Field renovation started. Yesterday’s action will certainly force additional delays to our project."

This isn't good no matter how you view it. The atmosphere is now so poisoned between the team and the rooftop owners that there's no possible way that the current agreement, which runs for nine more years, would ever be renewed by the Cubs. Thus, the rooftops have to understand that their businesses will almost certainly be out of business in 2023. Why they've been so intransigent -- when the Cubs have attempted several possible solutions to rooftop owners' complaints -- is absolutely beyond me.

The Sun-Times article tells what's going to happen next:

... the Cubs privately declared their intention to apply for a city permit to put up a 650-square-foot, see-through sign in right field that, the rooftop owners claim, will block their bird’s-eye view of the century-old stadium.

That sign would be similar to the one you see at the top of this post, which was a mock-up sign the Cubs put up last October in order to show the rooftop owners that blockage of their views would be minimal. I'm guessing that the city permit will be issued, upon which the rooftop owners will likely attempt to get a court to issue an injunction preventing the Cubs from putting the sign up.

What a mess. I know you'd rather hear baseball player news. But this is what we've got.