Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Cubs Release New Renderings, Plan to Start on Clubhouse in July

The Cubs unveiled the new plans to restore, renovate and expand Wrigley Field on Tuesday. The Cubs plan on starting construction on the clubhouse and plaza in July with the bleacher construction beginning in the fall.

With the additions to the plan, most notably the expansion to the clubhouse, Crane Kenney said Tuesday it would cost $375 million to restore, renovate and expand Wrigley Field, up $75 million from last year. And the total cost for Wrigley Field, the plaza and surrounding area would be $575 million. The project would take four years to complete, not five, and would be finished in time for the start of the 2018 season.

The team announced Tuesday that work on the triangle property that would house the Cubs new clubhouse would begin in July because that work does not have to have approval from the Landmarks Commission. The Cubs are looking to have the clubhouse completed by the start of the 2016 season.

Crane Kenney said the team has been “working closely with city planners on designs that would comply with the city’s architectural landmark standards” for Wrigley Field. When asked how long the Cubs had been working with the city, Kenney said “several months.” Kenney explained the approvals the team received last year on the left field video board and the see-through sign in right field helped create “a blueprint for bigger plans.”

Seven outfield signs were in the Cubs’ original plan. But the numbers of outfield signs was downgraded as the team tried to reach a compromise with the Wrigleyville Rooftop Association. The work on the “ballpark structure to accommodate the signs would begin at the end of the season” according to multiple reports.

Crane Kenney “renewed the threat to leave Wrigley if the Cubs are not allowed to control their own ballpark” according to the Sun-Times. The Cubs and the City said they have discussed other sites in Chicago the Cubs could build a ballpark. Mayor Emanuel and the team have been focused on keeping the Cubs at Wrigley for the good of the team and the city.

When asked about what impact the seven outfield signs would have on the rooftops, Kenney said the rooftops “tailgating patrons” might not need a perfect view of the field. The Cubs are expecting a lawsuit and Kenney pointed out “the outfield signs are expansion of the park and do not violate terms of the contract.”

The Sun-Times reported there is no animosity or hard feelings between the team and the rooftops. The Cubs looked “at offers to acquire the businesses” and to “change the percentages” the rooftops are paying the Cubs. But in the end they could not agree on the right numbers.

The Sun-Times spoke with Ryan McLaughlin, a spokesman for the Wrigleyville Rooftops Association. McLaughlin said the lawsuit will be filed shortly by the rooftop club owners.

McLaughlin told the Sun-Times, “A contract is a contract. It’s unclear why the Cubs feel they can break a contract with rooftop owners, but they do not break contracts with vendors, baseball players or whomever.”

According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs “intend to start the construction of the plaza in July and on the bleacher expansion this fall” even if a lawsuit drags out with the rooftops.

Cubs New Proposal to Restore, Renovate and Expand Wrigley Field

The new proposal that will be presented to the Landmarks Commission on June 5, include the following additions:

  • 30,000 square-foot clubhouse that includes a bi-level basement beneath new plaza on northeast corner of Clark Street and Waveland Avenue – Part of Clubhouse would remain behind dugout. Second part of clubhouse would be under the plaza and linked by an underground tunnel
  • Relocation of Home and Visitor Bullpens to underneath the expanded bleachers – Bullpens would have view of the field
  • New Light Standards in the Outfield placed inside the park, rising 92 feet
  • Seven Total Outfield Signs that includes a second video board
  • Left Field Video Board downsized to 3990 square feet (5700 square feet approved)
  • Right Field Video Board – 2400 square feet
  • Four Additional LED Signs throughout the outfield – Each LED sign would be up to 650 square feet
  • Addition of Three or Four Rows of Bleacher Seats
  • Addition of Seats along Right Field and Left Field Foul Lines – Due to the relocation of the home and visitor bullpens to a protected area beneath the expanded bleachers – Relief pitchers would have view of the field.
  • 200-Person Auditorium behind Cubs Dugout
  • 200-Seat Restaurant behind Cubs Dugout

Wrigley Plan - 052714

WrigleyClubhouse

WrigleyRightField Bullpens

WrigleyLeftField

WrigleyRightField Closeup

According to Bruce Miles, the outfield doors will be expanded to accommodate the new bullpens. The team said the ivy will not be “negatively impacted.”

The new, expanded clubhouse would be the second largest in Major League Baseball, behind only the New York Yankees.

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  • jtrain23

    Glad to see they are finally going to just start with the restoration. There is no way the Cubs are going to make everyone happy and still be able to do what they need to do to Wrigley. These restorations are crucial to the players, the recruiting of future free agents, and the fans that come and watch the games here. When poor facilities turn your home field advantage into a disadvantage, change is necessary.

    Will there be a lawsuit? Most certainly. But the odds of the Cubs doing all of this restoration without being sued by somebody somewhere are very slim. If they can get all of the ok’s to build, then build. Deal with the lawsuits later, but at least you will already have the structures up that you need. We all know that once this stuff is built, there will be no lawsuit that is going to force it all to be torn down.

  • mike_thoms

    Why is Bruce Miles saying the clubhouse construction will start in July and finish opening day 2016? Is it really going to take that long to finish the clubhouse? Second, I’d like to know what they are required to do for the visitor clubhouse.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      The clubhouse is going to be split into two sections as you know. The clubhouse will not be confined to only Wrigley anymore. Half of it will be underground and below the plaza. I have not seen specifics on the timeline on completion dates, but I was not taken back by the 2016 OD completion date when I read it.

      The visitors clubhouse will have to be updated, per league rules as you mentioned, I have not seen or read the new plans for it yet. There were updates and expansion planned last year.

      • mike_thoms

        I know it’s a big undertaking, but I guess my surprise came from the fact that most of the major construction will be taking place underneath the plaza. So there is excavation to be done, new foundation to support the office building going on the plaza and the general foot traffic. But that is starting in July hopefully, and can continue well into November. Meanwhile once the season ends, work can begin inside on renovating the existing clubhouse.

        I assume the visitors will have to get a matching batting cage but I wonder what else is really required.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Both clubhouses are supposed to be similar, by league rules. And that should include batting cages, workout room, etc. I think I have the drawings from last year, I will post them if I still do.

          • mike_thoms

            Got it…obviously they can’t build two 30K square foot clubhouses, there’d be no room to do that on the other side. Although I guess with the concourse work that will be done, as well as the plans for the Capt. Morgan club that might free up space in that area.

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  • Denver Mike

    I love how the billboard on the rooftop across from the RF bleachers says “Last Call”. Last Call for the rooftops perhaps?

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