Though the Chicago Cubs-owning Ricketts family's self-imposed April 1 deadline for a deal has come and gone, plans for a massive renovation of the team's 99-year-old Wrigley Field remain on hold -- for now.
The Ricketts had hoped to close the deal on their $500 million plan to renovate their iconic North Side ballpark and build a new hotel across the street by Monday, but their negotiations with the city will be extending into extra innings.
Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts told Fox Chicago Monday that, although their deadline has not been met, sufficient progress on their talks has been made for them to remain at the table.
At issue in the ongoing talks is the city's willingness to ease landmark restrictions on the ballpark that would allow for the addition of a revenue-generating 6,000-square-foot Jumbotron-esque video screen -- impacting views of the park from neighboring rooftop clubs -- among other changes. There are also concerns from the surrounding community over parking availability, security and limits over evening games and other events.
Commenting on the Ricketts' April 1 target, Mayor Rahm Emanuel urged patience on Monday, according to ABC Chicago, and said, "I did not set the deadline... They did and they're a party to the conversation and I believe when all the parties have something to say, they'll say it."
Speaking to the press after the Cubs defeated the Pirates in their season opener in Pittsburgh, Cubs operations president Theo Epstein described the renovation plan as "fundamentally important to get us to the next level as an organization," DNAinfo Chicago reports.
According to the Chicago Tribune, while construction on the plan cannot begin until Sept. 25 at the earliest, Ricketts chose the April 1 deadline to allow for ample time to order building materials and hire contractors.
The Ricketts family months ago pulled a tax subsidy request from the plan but wants the city to ease up on restrictions concerning signage, night events and other matters in return.