City Approves Wrigley Field Restoration Plan
The Chicago Cubs, the Chicago’s landmarks commission, and the City Council have all agreed on plans for Wrigley Field renovations.
The Cubs have been pushing their plans for renovations this year, seeking added revenue that other major league teams already receive through advertising opportunities like signage and electronic video boards.
Neighborhood groups and rooftop bleacher owners have opposed to the plan, claiming that the modernization ruins Wrigley’s charm, video boards will flicker into people’s homes, and that boards will block rooftops in a way that will hurt rooftop revenues, violating the contract the Cubs signed with rooftop owners in 2004. 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney has and still does vocally disapprove of the plan in support of his residents.
But the Cubs have prevailed, for now. Here’s the lowdown on the changes coming to Wrigley over the next few years:
- The biggest, most controversial addition: a 5,700-square-foot JumboTron in left field, near the smaller Toyota sign which will be moved from its current location. The board will display statistics, replays, and advertisements, and lights will be installed above it for better field lighting.
- The back walls behind the bleachers will be pushed back (towards the street) to increase bleacher plaza space and to place the JumboTron further back, which is supposed to minimize the board’s impairment of bleacher views.
- A 650-square-foot ‘see-through’ advertisement sign in right field. Rooftop owners are concerned their view will not be adequately restored.
- New video board in the left field corner below the bleachers. It will be identical to the current board in right field but with bleachers above instead of another party deck.
- Renovated concourses with upgraded concessions and merchandise shops.
- New patio on the back of the upper deck with dining area.
- Remodeled, expanded suites on the mezzanine suite level.
- New building where Captain Morgan Club stands now; the Club will move to the second floor and a large team store will be underneath.
- Open plaza on the triangle west of Wrigley (currently home to a parking lot).
- Sheraton hotel on the west side of Clark Street (across the street from the plaza).
- New screen in center field above the batter’s eye.
- ‘Home Plate Club’ underneath 100-level seating.
- Upper deck club seats under the media deck (includes access to a new indoor club lounge and deck behind it).
- Rebuilt Cubs clubhouse, weight room, training facilities, kitchen/lounge, meeting rooms, and an actual batting cage. During games the Cubs currently have to practice swinging within a net inside the clubhouse.
- Renovated press box and media dining area
All of these physical renovations come after the city approved the Cubs for up to 40 night games per season (excluding playoffs) and Wrigley Field for up to four concerts per summer. The city did shut down the Cubs’ idea to shoot off fireworks after home runs (a classic White Sox staple), but the franchise will still have their hands full with all of these projects to work on.
Work will begin this offseason and continue through the next five offseasons, as fans should notice changes coming into the ballpark each year they return starting next year. The Cubs want Wrigley to be the crown jewel of ballparks, a modern stadium built within the frame of a 1938 baseball setting (hence, the language switch from renovation to restoration), surrounded by the ultimate stadium nightlife neighborhood, Wrigleyville. These renovations bring the historic franchise a huge step closer to achieving that.