Tuesday, April 16, 2013
One roof-top owner eager to hear Cubs' plans
By Bruce Levine
CHICAGO -- At least one roof-top owner is eager to see the Chicago Cubs' plans for renovation.
Beth Murphy, owner of Murphy's Bleachers, says she is concerned about the future of her business and the neighborhood in which she has lived for over 30 years.
"I heard they are going to make a presentation to the community on May 8," Murphy said Tuesday night. "The community has been in the dark about these plans. There has been some dismay about how the Cubs have gone about this. They now make their presentations at the Cub convention and not to the residents of the 44th ward."
Murphy is one of 17 roof-top owners who are waiting to be informed about the plans for new signage that will be added to the back of the Wrigley field bleachers. The signs may block some of the existing views, which would impact roof-top ticket sales. This is part and parcel to an agreement by the mayor of Chicago, Alderman Tom Tunney, and the Cubs on a $500 million renovation of the 99-year-old ballpark.
Murphy said the roof-top association has not had any conversations with the Cubs since Feb. 6. The roof-top owners give 17 percent of gross revenues to the Cubs in the deal that runs through 2024.
"We are partners," Murphy said, "so there is a business relationship. There is no question about that. I am part of the community too. Let me be clear, we want the Cubs to do their renovation and we want them to win the World Series. The first step of their renovation is to do their clubhouses and training facilities. They should go ahead and build them because that is the main reason they have given that they are not competitive."
If the new signs are blocking the view on Murphy's building, she says she is open to other forms of compensation from the Cubs.
"I would consider it, but I would like to see what they intend to do," Murphy said. "I have a business I run 365 days a year. I would hope for both a community process and a one-on-one."
Murphy was asked if she believes the roof-top association will have to sue to protect its business interests.
"Having gone through the litigation in 2003-2004, I am hopeful it doesn't get that far," Murphy said. "That process is very hard on small business people. I hope we can reach some sort of an agreement."