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Wrigley Rooftop Owner, Bank Reach Settlement

We could be getting closer to the rooftop endgame.

The building at the right in this photo is one of those in this settlement
The building at the right in this photo is one of those in this settlement
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In recent years, the owners of some of the rooftop clubs facing Wrigley Field have been in financial difficulty, to the point that some of them couldn't make payments on the hefty commercial mortgages on their properties.

According to Jared L. Hopkins in the Tribune, there's been a recent settlement between one owner and a bank that was owed a considerable amount of money:

Fifth Third Bank and a Wrigley rooftop owner reached a settlement stemming from the bank's November complaint alleging the owner's business owed more than $18 million on mortgages and had missed payments, according to papers filed Friday in federal court.

The bank is asking a judge to dismiss all financial claims against Tom Gramatis, the majority owner of rooftop operations at 3617, 3619 and 3637 N. Sheffield Ave.

The proceeding likely pushes forward the prospect of those rooftops being sold, either through a foreclosure proceeding or to another investor. The properties are not currently in foreclosure.

The properties at 3617 and 3619 N. Sheffield are the ones at the right in the photo at the top of this post. 3637 N. Sheffield is the brown-facade building two buildings to the left (in the photo) of the one with the billboard on the roof.

The key part of that quote above is "the prospect of those rooftops being sold," which, in the end, will likely wind up being to the Ricketts family. As I wrote here last November, at least two of the rooftop clubs were reported to be in the process of being sold to the Ricketts, a process the Tribune article confirms:

A handful of owners remain in negotiations to sell to the team. The fate of some could change in coming days.

George Loukas, who owns three rooftop clubs and has acknowledged that the Cubs hold the stronger negotiating arm, said Friday he was still in talks about a sale.

"We're still negotiating. We should know something in the near future," he said.

In the meantime, the article indicates that Gramatis and his partners have been trying to get out of the rooftop business for some time, because business has been "slow" (not surprising over the last few years with the product on the field being poor). The article also references the lawsuit that I wrote about here on Friday and indicates that lawsuit is an "amended" one:

They filed an amended complaint Thursday, including allegations against the team of strong-arming the rooftop clubs in negotiations and echoing concerns that were made by their attorney during a December commission meeting.

All of this seems to point in the direction of some sort of financial payoffs to existing rooftop owners from the Cubs and all the buildings (and clubs) eventually being owned by the Ricketts family. Given this latest report, I'd think that will happen sooner rather than later, perhaps even sometime this year.