I know all of us are thinking of other things today but myself hitting refresh doesn’t help anything and depresses me. In case you are the same way, here are the details of the $500 million Wrigley Field renovation plan.
The Chicago Cubs and the city have agreed on details of a $500 million facelift for Wrigley Field, including an electronic video screen that is nearly three times as large as the one currently atop the centerfield bleachers of the 99-year-old ballpark.
Under terms of the agreement, the Cubs would also be able to increase the number of night games at Wrigley Field from 30 to 40 – or nearly half the games played there each season. They would give Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts the ability to renovate the second-oldest park in the major leagues, boost business and perhaps make baseball’s most infamous losers competitive again.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel hailed what the two sides called a ”framework” agreement in a joint statement issued Sunday night, noting that it includes no taxpayer funding. That had been one of the original requests of the Ricketts family in a long-running renovation dispute that at times involved everything from cranky ballpark neighbors to ward politics and even the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama.
”This framework allows the Cubs to restore the Friendly Confines (of Wrigley) and pursue their economic goals, while respecting the rights and quality of life of its neighbors,” Emanuel said.
Still uncertain was how the agreement will sit with owners of nearby buildings who provide rooftop views of the ball games under an agreement with the Cubs that goes back years. They have threatened to sue if the renovations obstruct their view, which they claim would drive them out of business.
On Monday, a spokesman for the rooftop owners said the group would have a statement later, but in the meantime referred the AP to the group’s statement released earlier this month that says: ”Any construction that interrupts the rooftop views will effectually drive them out of business and be challenged in a court of law.”
The Cubs said the video screen they are proposing to build is 6,000 square feet, and would be built with ”minimal impact on rooftops with whom (the) Cubs have an agreement.” The current centerfield scoreboard is slightly more than 2,000 square feet; the Cubs also have plans to add a left-field sign of 1,000 square feet.
The Ricketts family, plans to spend $300 million in the stadium and another $200 million developing a hotel and office building on adjacent property. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a news release Sunday, hailed that the Cubs will restore Wrigley without taxpayer dollars.
The city will vacate sidewalk and one street lane on Waveland Avenue and sidewalk on Sheffield Avenue, which according to the Ricketts’ proposal would be at no cost to the Cubs. The Cubs sought to expand the footprint of Wrigley as much as 10 feet outward to mitigate the effect of a giant video scoreboard in left field and see-through-sign in right on rooftop clubs overlooking the stadium.
The team also plans to construct a pedestrian bridge over Clark Street without having to purchase air rights from the city. The bridge would have a “Welcome to Wrigleyville” sign.
The city also agreed to support the Cubs’ application to change its property tax status to reflect the private funding of the restoration of a designated landmark.
In return, the team is offering to make investments in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. Among them, it plans to:
– Contribute $3.75 million between 2014 and 2023 to Wrigleyville infrastructure projects and investments.
– Contribute $1 million to build a play lot on School Street.
– Pay for 10 of the 30 additional public safety personnel that will be stationed outside Wrigley after games.
The Cubs released additional details about signage in their proposal to the city:
– It plans an LED “ribbon board” along the upper deck grandstand, a new fan deck in left field and a new signs on the wall in right field and behind home plate.
– Also planned are signs on the new two-story Captain Morgan Club on Addison Street
– And 35,000 square feet of advertising outside the ballpark between the hotel, outdoor plaza and Captain Morgan Club.
Of course at the end of the day and after everything has been built, Chicago baseball fans will have a great stadium that is still home to a cursed baseball team, the Cubs.