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'Fun' while it lasted; now Cubs own three more rooftops

The rooftops along Sheffield Avenue overlook ballpark during the Chicago Cubs 2013 season at Wrigley Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

A former owner of three Wrigley Field rooftops said he “had a fun time” while it lasted.

But as of earlier this month, all three belong to the owners of the Chicago Cubs.

“I hope all goes well,” said Max Waisvisz, a former co-owner of the rooftop businesses at 3637, 3617 and 3619 N. Sheffield.

Entities controlled by the Ricketts Family bought the properties earlier this month, according to Cook County property records.

“The Ricketts family has said in the past they are interested in reasonable opportunities to purchase rooftop property and are willing to pay a fair price,” the Cubs said in a statement.

“In this case, we were able to acquire three buildings. The rooftop situation has been a political and legal morass for more than a decade and the Ricketts family will remain interested in opportunities which make sound business sense.”

This opportunity came up after Fifth Third Bank filed for foreclosure in federal court last November of the famous rooftop properties, alleging owners Waisvisz, Thomas Gramatis, Daniel Finkel and various holding companies owed more than $18 million. The suits were dismissed days before the deal went through with the Ricketts Family, records show.

Waisvisz said in November that revenue was down as a group of rooftop owners battled with the Cubs over plans to renovate Wrigley Field.

That battle played out earlier this year in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall. She refused last month to ban the Cubs from installing outfield signs that would block rooftop owners’ lucrative views into the ballpark.

The judge made her ruling 72 hours before Opening Day, forcing the Cubs to move quickly to install signs — a move the rooftop owners predicted would destroy their businesses overnight.