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Ricketts Family Buys McDonald's Across From Wrigley Field

UPDATED 12/14/11 1:58 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The owners of the Cubs have purchased the lot directly across from Wrigley Field, where a prominent McDonald's now stands.

Crain's Chicago Real Estate Daily reports the Ricketts family has paid $20 million for the lot across Clark Street from Wrigley Field, which includes the McDonald's at 3620 N. Clark St., and a parking lot.

A family spokesman would not tell the newspaper what the Ricketts family plans to do with the land, but the Ricketts family is known for its desire to buy and redevelop land near the ballpark.

McDonald's had previously owned the land, which it sold and leased back. Its outlet at the site will remain open for now, although the Ricketts family may close it and have it torn down at any time, Crain's reported.

But under the terms of the deal, a new McDonald's must be part of whatever development ends up at the site.

The McDonald's is a familiar sight to fans attending Cubs games. Its golden arches sign is adorned with chasing marquee-style lights.

The restaurant has also been known for some high-profile outdoor advertising. Most notably, in the summer of 2008, the ad agency Leo Burnett designed a giant egg, that was mounted on a pole in the parking lot. The egg cracked open at 6 a.m., and closed when breakfast ended for the day.

But the same McDonald's has also generated some seedy headlines in recent years. In September 2010, registered sex offender Cortez Lewis, 29, was arrested and charged with molesting an 8-year-old boy in the restroom there. Two months later, an apparently homeless man was arrested for allegedly stabbing a sailor during an argument in the wee hours of the morning.

Development in the area around Wrigley Field has been a hot issue for some time.

Kitty-corner across Clark and Addison streets from the McDonald's, plans remain afoot for a massive hotel-residential-retail development.

The Addison Park on Clark, which was approved by the City Council in July 2010, was intended to include an eight-story, 137-room Hyatt hotel, 135 residential units, and 145,000 square feet of retail space, which might include of a Best Buy, a Dominick's, an Apple Store and a CVS Pharmacy. There would also be 399 parking spaces.

But it would also clear away a large swath of the popular Wrigleyville nightlife district, including the iO improv comedy theater and school, the Goose Island Wrigleyville Brewpub, Mullen's Bar and Grill and the Red Ivy Sports Lounge, among other venues.

Developer Steven Schultz was recently hit with foreclosure on the project in October, Crain's reported.

Also targeted for development is a triangular parcel directly in front of Wrigley Field on Clark Street. Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts wants to move ahead with the construction of a "Triangle Building" on the site, which would feature a Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame, a Cubs Pro Shop, and new ticket windows.

The only structure on the "triangle" site, the former Yum-Yum Donuts building, was torn down two years ago.

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