Mayor Rahm Emanuel today sounded supportive of allowing the Cubs to build a right field party deck over Sheffield Avenue, pointing out that the Ricketts family and the rooftop owners both like the idea while adding it's important to get the community's input on the proposal.
Cubs CEO Tom Ricketts raised questions last week following the City Council's approval of the team's $500 million plan to renovate the ballpark and develop the surrounding neighborhood, saying he wants a guarantee that the rooftop owners won't sue. The rooftop clubs are seeking to ensure that their lucrative views into the ballpark don't get blocked.
One idea being floated as a way to break the impasse involves extending the stadium's exterior right-field wall back 8 more feet and building a patio that would stretch above Sheffield Avenue. The configuration would take out a lane of parking on the east side of the street and shut out some daylight, creating a viaduct-like cover over the street.
That would allow the Cubs to move a planned 650-square-foot illuminated script sign back to the eastern edge of the deck and maintain the current views from the right-field rooftops.
Emanuel said the Sheffield deck plan is in play.
"It was brought up toward the end," the mayor said at a news conference on CTA absenteeism. "It was too soon to have shoehorned it in to the planned development that City Council passed. The alderman's going to run a community process. What I do note, which I thought was interesting given the usual rift that exists between the rooftops and the Ricketts, here's the one idea that the two of them agreed on, which stood out."
"We reached agreement on the (planned development), and Mr. Ricketts and the rooftops have direction from both the mayor and City Council to continue discussions and bring them to a conclusion, and I actually do believe that they're making good progress in those conversations," Emanuel said.
Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th, will run "a community process" to get neighbors' feedback on the deck, Emanuel said.
"Because the community has to be heard, as they were throughout the process getting to the point we were last week where we finally ended a three-year process and allowed the Ricketts to make their investments and do it without any taxpayer support," the mayor said.