Cubs planning to move forward with Wrigley Field renovations
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts says the team is planning to move forward with their proposed Wrigley Field renovations.
In a letter and video sent to Cubs fans on Wednesday, chairman Tom Ricketts said the team is ready to move forward with proposed renovations to Wrigley Field. Here is the video:
Ricketts says a revised expansion plan will be submitted to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks seeking approval for the addition of several signs and a new seating configuration in the outfield. If approved, the team is prepared to begin construction immediately.
Here are the highlights of the revised renovation plan, courtesy of MLB.com's Carrie Muskat:
The new outfield signs will provide an additional revenue source to help fund other parts of the restoration, Ricketts said. The revised expansion plan will include additional seating and open spaces in the Budweiser Bleachers, including new group terraces in right and left field and enclosed hospitality areas. They are also asking for new outfield lights that will reduce shadows, allowing fly balls to be lit from both front and back. All lighting will be directed inside the ballpark and not outside to the community.
Also, four additional LED signs of up to 650 square feet, and one additional 2,400-square foot videoboard in right field will be added to the ballpark.
Both the home and visitor's clubhouses will be expanded as part of the renovations, and the bullpens would be moved off the field to an area under the Budweiser Bleachers.
"We can't delay any longer. The time to build a winner is now," Ricketts said in the video. "I'm not saying Wrigley Field is the reason the Chicago Cubs haven't won a world championship in more than 100 years, but I am saying it's time to invest in Wrigley Field and to do the things our competitors do."
A proposed video scoreboard in left field will be reduced in size, though the Wrigleyville Rooftop Association has made it clear it plans to sue to prevent the scoreboard from being built because it will obstruct views.
"We've spent endless hours negotiating with the rooftop businesses," Ricketts added. "We've gotten nowhere in our talks with them to settle this dispute. It has to end. It's time to move forward."
The Chicago City Council and the Commission on Chicago Landmarks approved the team's $500 million renovation plan in 2013. That proposal included a larger video scoreboard. Other approved elements include an open-air plaza outside Wrigley, a 175-room hotel in partnership with Starwood, a 40,000-square-foot Chicago Athletic Club, a restoration of the ballpark's facade and improved amenities.
The proposed renovation will be privately financed. Wrigley Field celebrated its 100th anniversary earlier this year and is the second-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball.