Cubs owner buys 3 Wrigley rooftops

The Ricketts family, owner of the Chicago Cubs, has purchased three neighboring apartment buildings with rooftop businesses, property records and sources confirmed late Friday.

County property records show that the rooftop business at 3639 N. Sheffield Ave. was sold Jan. 9 for $4.2 million. The property is co-owned by James Lourgos, who could not immediately be reached for comment on the sale.

Two sources said George Loukas sold two buildings at 3643-3645 N. Sheffield Ave. and 1032-1034 W. Waveland Ave. to the Ricketts family. The sources did not disclose the sales price of the properties.

Through his attorney, Loukas declined to comment. Dennis Culloton, the family’s spokesman, declined to comment.

The acquisitions reflect the Ricketts family’s desire to control more of the dollars Cub fans spend during the season as well as end a long-running feud with rooftop owners. The family would like to buy more of the 16 buildings with rooftop businesses that line Waveland and Sheffield avenues.
Before the Ricketts family bought the Cubs in 2009 for $845 million, the team went into business with rooftop owners. Under a 20-year contract struck in 2004, the rooftops share 17 percent of their revenues with the Cubs. In exchange the team promised not to block the rooftops’ bird’s-eye views of the games.

But the relationship started turning sour when the Cubs in 2010 installed a sign featuring Toyota’s logo rising from the back of the outfield bleachers. The rooftop owners challenged the sign, arguing that it would lead to more advertising that could obstruct their views and violate the contract.

The friction increased in 2013, when the team unveiled a major renovation plan for the stadium that proposed several more outfield signs, including a giant video scoreboard, to help pay for the $300 million project.

The Cubs last year received approval to install five signs and two scoreboards in the outfield. Soon after the approval, team officials approached some rooftop owners with offers to buy them out.

Rooftop owners have accused the Cubs of using the proposed signs to intimidate them into selling or have their views obstructed. The Cubs have denied the claims.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/ct-wrigley-rooftop-sale-0117-biz-20150116-story.html



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