The Cubs received permission, with one condition, from the Landmarks Commission on Thursday to move forward with the changes and restoration of Wrigley Field’s iconic marquee.
Wrigley’s marquee was removed early in the off-season as part of Phase Two of The 1060 Project. Due to the exterior work being done on the ballpark it was necessary to remove the marquee. Plus, as Danny Ecker put it, after years of not being maintained as it will be moving forward the marquee needed a facelift.
According to a report from Crain’s Chicago Business, the approval from the Landmarks Commission came with stipulations.
Wrigley Field’s marquee was “deemed structurally deficient and deteriorated.” The Landmarks Commission “approved a new interior to be installed to get it up to code, with the front and side panels on the exterior of the sign salvaged and reinstalled. The team is also replacing neon lighting in the ‘Cubs’ lettering on the sign and stripping off 24 layers of paint before repainting it the same red and white colors fans are used to seeing.”
One issue that arose between the Cubs and the Landmarks Commission was over “the replacement of the digital LED portion of the marquee.” The LED portion was installed in 1983 and while the commission acknowledged it had to be updated, the concern was that the Cubs “might program the sign in a way that looked too different from the way it has in the past.”
The updated LED will be the same size and have the same appearance it did before the marquee was removed.
The Cubs “conceded that the new LED sign would have greater capabilities than its predecessor but the team intends to keep it in the same style as it always has.” Mike Lufrano said the Cubs have “not yet determined what the programming will be or what exactly will be on it.” The team is committed to keeping with the history of Wrigley throughout the restoration of the ballpark and the same standards will be used when it comes to the programming on the marquee.
The Commission is concerned “how it would change the ‘street experience’ of seeing it outside Wrigley.” With the way technology has changed in 33 years, the Cubs could show video instead of using the LED portion as a message board.
The LED sign is “not historic in nature and that its appearance is not a landmarked feature of the sign.”
According to Danny Ecker, the Cubs received approval to move forward with the restoration of the marquee in order to have it installed by the team’s home opener on April 11. But there was a condition in the commission’s approval.
“A different visual appearance of the sign message/image display from what currently exists is not approved at this time and would require additional review and future approval.” Ecker explained that means the Cubs can move forward with the marquee “but will have to work out details of what they plan to do with the digital sign” before April 11.
Construction continues on Wrigley and the deliverables for this off-season remain on schedule to be completed by the Cubs’ first home game of the season on April 11, and that includes the player’s new state-of-the-art, 30,000 square foot clubhouse.