The rooftops just behind Wrigley Field begin to fill with fans before Game 3 of the World Series in October. The Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs, took out a loan of $65 million on the 11 rooftops they own on May 17, 2017. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune)
The family that owns the Chicago Cubs has taken out a loan of more than $65 million on its 11 rooftop buildings, from a lender the team already knows well.
The Ricketts family on May 17 borrowed more than $65 million from Wintrust Bank, according to Cook County property records and commercial real estate data and analytics firm CrediFi.
The loan for the buildings overlooking Wrigley Field adds a new dimension to the relationship between the Cubs and Rosemont-based Wintrust Financial, which is the team’s official banking partner. Wintrust’s sponsorship deal includes a large Wintrust sign atop the video board in the left field bleachers.
The Ricketts family’s new loan comes amid its $850 million Wrigley Field renovation and development that is changing the look of the North Side neighborhood.
The debt replaces several smaller loans for rooftop buildings on Sheffield and Waveland avenues that the team’s owners acquired in a series of deals from January 2015 through February 2017 and creates one larger long-term loan, said Dennis Culloton, Ricketts family spokesman.
Wintrust’s loan refinances the rooftop buildings, but is not expected to be used in the family’s extensive real estate developments in the area, he said.
The value of the 10-year loan appears to be more than twice the total the family has paid to buy the buildings where rooftop clubs sell tickets to watch games from across the street.
Eight of the properties sold for about $23.3 million combined, property records show. That includes the Down the Line property at 3621-25 N. Sheffield that sold for $3.5 million in February.
The family also took control of three other buildings by buying the debt on delinquent loans. The exact value of those deals is unclear in property records.
The Ricketts family’s new loan from Wintrust matures in 2027, and loan documents from the Cook County Recorder of Deeds office show a value of $65.75 million. But the loan also shows a "maximum amount" of almost $183 million, which appears to indicate the family could nearly triple their debt over the next decade.
The Wrigley Field development, which includes upgrades to the ballpark and the addition of a new plaza, office and retail space, and a hotel, is expected to cost $850 million. The redevelopment won’t be completed until at least 2019, Culloton said.
Rooftop building acquisitions are not included in the $850 million redevelopment cost, Culloton said.
The rooftop buildings owned by the Ricketts family are at 1010, 1032, 1038, 1044 and 1048 W. Waveland Ave. along the left-field side of the ballpark, and 3617, 3619, 3621-25, 3637, 3639 and 3643 N. Sheffield Ave. beyond the right-field wall.
Five other rooftop buildings are not owned by the Ricketts family, but the Cubs collect 17 percent of revenue from those businesses as part of a 20-year agreement reached in 2004.
Even with that agreement in place, there have been hard feelings and multiple lawsuits in recent years between longtime rooftop owners and the Cubs’ owners, as the Ricketts family has pushed to control real estate around the park and create an entertainment district.
The Ricketts family has a partnership with one other rooftop owner, George Loukas, in which Loukas manages the family’s rooftop businesses.
There are no imminent deals to acquire any of the other rooftops, "but they’re always interested," Culloton said of the Ricketts family.