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
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.
- Full Report from the Sun-Times
- Full Report from the Chicago Tribune
- Photo Credit for Close-Ups of Left and Right Field – Danny Ecker