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.”