Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Cubs Restoration Plans for Off-Season Put On Hold

The first phase to restore Wrigley Field was supposed to begin this past week when the Cubs wrapped up their home portion of the schedule. When the Cubs announced the plans last January to renovate the historic ballpark during the Cubs Convention, the first phase of the project was to include a new clubhouse and improved facilities for the players along with the large video board that would help pay for the $300 million restoration project of the nearly 100-year old Wrigley Field.

As the season progressed, even after the Cubs received all of the approvals necessary from the city, Tom Ricketts stated repeatedly that the project would not begin until he felt that he had the right assurances from the rooftop club owners that they would not pursue legal action for the Cubs possibly blocking their views.

According to a report from the Tribune, “the Cubs have yet to apply for any of the city permits that would be required for the ballpark renovation work.” Cubs’ spokesman, Julian Green informed the media on Friday.

Theo Epstein has indicated for weeks that the off-season work the team had planned for Wrigley would not take place during the upcoming winter. The Cubs and the Ricketts family “remain leery about building the left field video scoreboard and large right field advertising sign that are key sources of ad money because owners of rooftop buildings overlooking the park haven’t guaranteed they won’t sue if the boards block their views.” The Cubs secured Anheuser-Busch as a sponsor for the see-through sign in right field but have not indicated when construction of the sign will begin.

The team used cranes to demonstrate to the rooftop club owners how much of their views will be blocked by the video board and see-through sign but those demonstrations apparently did not give the rooftop owners the answers they were looking for in order to remove the threat of legal action.

According to the Tribune, “these delays make the new home clubhouse all but an impossibility before Opening Day 2014. The team is eager to get done whatever it can during the winter months, but that will likely consist mostly of structural improvements and smaller repairs and upgrades less visible that the big-ticket renovations.”

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  • Ripsnorter1

    People will hate me for this, but…good move by Mr. Ricketts.

    He needs a domed ballpark that is thoroughly modern, with lots of parking.

    • Tony_Hall

      Not sure it needs to be domed, but why spend $1 until it is all cleared to move forward. I think it is time for some reports about other locations again. Maybe the rooftop owners have forgotten that they only have a business, if the Cubs stay at Wrigley.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yup.

        And thanks for being a sport, Tony. I had a ball on the CCO this year.
        Have a great off season, and stay healthy!

  • BosephHeyden

    They should have just relocated to the suburbs.

  • Bryan

    Looks like the major offseason commentary will be on billboards and revenue. Very exciting.

    The best part of today? The dismal season for the Cubs ends….and hockey starts in less than 48 hours. Go Blackhawks!

    • GaryLeeT

      The Hawks look poised to repeat, Rose is back, and the Bears are 3-0. Plenty to be happy about if you are a sports fan in Chicago. But none of those teams have had generations of fans born, and died without seeing a champion.

  • GaryLeeT

    Rooftop owners are a great American story. A small minority holding the vast majority hostage. Is there a long term contract with them? If so, what moron offered it?
    Between Oak Brook, and Westchester, where most main roads intersect, there are at least 6 golf courses, any of which would make a great new location for the Cubs.

    • Tony_Hall

      I agree with you, but teams have always loved doing these long term deals, especially in TV, but no different then with players, long term deals just don’t make sense in sports for one side of the deal. The problem, is we don’t always know which side until many years into the deal.

    • paulcatanese

      Unless you’re a golfer:) Most places tee times are hard to come by. (kidding, you make a good point). But could one imagine the eco studies that would take place?

  • Brp921

    It’s time for an ultimatum. Tell the rooftop owners to sign the necessary papers agreeing to no legal action against the renovations. If they won’t agree begin the search for a new location.

  • SuzyS

    It’s a dismal story at the end of a dismal year. Seems like the Cubs can’t fight their way out of a paper bag just now.
    Delay on this, delay on that. Wait for a winner…etc. etc. etc.
    As optimistic as I usually am…even I am getting impatient to start seeing some positive results.

  • cubtex

    I guess that is another nail in the attendance coffin for next year. Bad product, No renovations….who the hell would want to go to Wrigley next year?

    • BosephHeyden

      The answer to this question is the same as the answer to why the Cubs will never move: the people who go to Wrigley every year, not so much to watch the Cubs but to say that they went to Wrigley. It may not guarantee year-long sellouts, but it guarantees an attendance that other teams with similarly bad records will never see.

      • cubtex

        I understand the out of towners who want to see Wrigley….or fans that want to go to Wrigley to watch their visiting team play there….but if you live in Chicago……why in the world would you go?

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