How many press releases have the rooftop owners near Wrigley Field sent out, threatening legal action against the Cubs for the proposed Wrigley signage plan? How many times have the Cubs said they want to begin construction on their proposed Wrigley renovations, only to have team chairman Tom Ricketts say that he wanted assurances they wouldn't sue?
Too many to count, I'd say.
Thursday afternoon, the rooftop owners blinked, according to the Tribune:
The rooftop owners surrounding Wrigley Field have agreed not to sue the Chicago Cubs if the team sticks to last year’s plan to install a video scoreboard and one advertising sign in the outfield, two owners said. The rooftop owners reached out to the Cubs with the offer in recent weeks to settle their long-running dispute and are waiting for a response, said Jim Lourgos, a rooftop owner. "The rooftops have been working very hard to find a solution that works for everyone," Lourgos said. "I haven’t heard from the Cubs yet."
Well. This is something the Cubs had wanted to hear from the rooftops over a year ago. Had they said it then, the Wrigley renovations would likely be well under way, with a sign in right field, a new clubhouse under construction, and other things from the original proposal which was approved by the Chicago City Council and the Landmarks Commission last year.
Personally, I hope the Cubs take them up on their offer. I realize that the Cubs are in a position to ask for more and likely get it, but they seemed happy with the approved 2013 proposal and there doesn't seem to be any reason they couldn't go forward with it now.
I reached out to Cubs spokesman Julian Green for a statement on this issue. Here's what he sent me:
We are 100 percent focused on presenting our revised expansion plan to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. Our construction timetable depends on getting the required approvals at that meeting so that must be our priority at this time. We engaged in good-faith discussions with the rooftops and thought we could come to an agreement that would work for all parties. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. At this point, we’re not prepared to lose another year and jeopardize delivering on the promises we made to our players, fans, partners and neighbors. We look forward to presenting our revised expansion plan to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. If they approve our plan, we will begin construction immediately which will generate a significant amount of resources – without taxpayer dollars – to achieve our goals of winning a World Series, saving Wrigley Field and being a good neighbor.
This sounds like they're going to go forward, but that doesn't mean behind-the-scenes talks couldn't happen if the team is willing to discuss things again with the rooftops. Whether that will happen or not remains to be seen.
I've put an image of the original sign/Jumbotron outfield plan as proposed by the Cubs and approved in 2013 at the top of this post so that you can see the difference between that and the new version. Here's a larger version of that 2013 image (click to open either link above in a new browser window or tab). I'd think this would please just about everyone. As has been said many times: "Get 'er done."