4/15 Cubs, city reach agreement
The Cubs and the city of Chicago have reached an agreement on a $500 million renovation plan for Wrigley Field, which includes the addition of a video scoreboard in left field, more night games and improvements to the Wrigleyville community. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts was to meet with the media at 11 a.m. CT Monday to discuss the proposal.
“We are excited about moving forward with the approval process,” Ricketts said in a statement. “Under the leadership of Mayor [Rahm] Emanuel and [Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th Ward], we believe the Cubs proposal will help us invest in Wrigley Field and the Lakeview community. We are anxious to work with our community as we seek the approvals required to move the project forward.”
No public dollars will be needed for the Wrigley Field renovation project. If approved, the Cubs say the proposal would create 2,100 new jobs and generate hundreds of millions in new tax revenue for the city, state and county. The jobs include 800 construction jobs and 1,300 permanent jobs, and this would be among the biggest investments currently underway in the city of Chicago.
All designs and construction are subject to a planned development process. The Cubs say community participation and input to this point has been helpful on night games, ballpark design, plaza and hotel. There will be public hearings on the proposal.
* According to the Cubs, the rooftop views will be largely preserved. The Cubs have agreed to install only two signs in the outfield -– a video scoreboard in left field and a sign in right field. This is far less than the team’s original desire for seven signs to help offset the cost of ballpark restoration. Signs will be placed in a manner to limit impact on rooftops.
* If approved, the Cubs would play 40 night baseball games, up from the current 30. If Major League Baseball or its national television contract requires the Cubs to play more than five home night games in any season, such games will be authorized by special ordinance and will not count against the 40-game limit or require additional cost to Cubs. This does not include playoffs, the All-Star Game, events outside the baseball season, events when fewer than 15,000 are expected to attend, games rescheduled because of weather or other cause, or other events excluded under the current ordinance, which will be allowed as well. No Saturday or Sunday night games will be played unless MLB schedules them for national TV purposes.
There is a special ordinance for concerts (maximum of four), with no additional cost to the Cubs. These do not count as a night game, and are permitted on weekends. Anything beyond four concerts will count as a night game.
The Cubs also will be able to play six Friday games, starting at 3:05 p.m. CT. Currently, they are not able to play any at that time, which makes it difficult for the team coming back from road trips.
Under the plan, the Cubs will have the flexibility to schedule smaller events in-season and to schedule off-season events at Wrigley Field without sacrificing a night game or incurring additional cost.
* The Cubs want to install a 6,000 square foot videoboard in left field, and the team will choose the location with the goal to have minimal impact on the rooftops, which surround the ballpark, and with whom the Cubs have an agreement. The videoboard may be further cantilevered over the public street to help further minimize impact on rooftops.
There also will be one sign in right field of 1,000 square feet in the style of the existing Toyota sign now in left. The Cubs will choose the location with the goal is to again have minimal impact on the rooftops.
* The city of Chicago has agreed to vacate the sidewalk and one street lane on Waveland Avenue (from Sheffield to Clark), at no cost to the Cubs, which will be incorporated into the ballpark, subject to a requirement to maintain eight feet of sidewalk. This will allow the left field video board to be moved further north, thus minimizing the sightline impact on rooftops. It also increases the open space on the plaza by moving the office building further North.
The city also will vacate the sidewalk on Sheffield Avenue (from Addison to Waveland), at no cost to the Cubs, which will be incorporated into the ballpark, subject to a requirement to maintain eight feet of sidewalk.
* The Cubs will add a new 14,000 square foot, two-story Captain Morgan Club on Addison Street with a merchandise store and space for visitors’ clubhouse, to replace the existing street-level restaurant.
* New additions to the ballpark in left field and right field corners will allow more flexible space for fans, including connection points to bleachers and grandstands at the height of current bleachers. The right field addition will also include a ground floor restaurant opening (an expanded version of the Sheffield Grill) onto Sheffield Avenue.
The Cubs also will be able to use Sheffield Avenue for weekend home games between Memorial Day and Labor Day beginning two hours before the game and ending at the end of the second inning.
– Carrie Muskat