Following lengthy delays and hang-ups over the renovations of Wrigley Field, the Chicago Landmarks Commission finally approved the expanded renovation work for the 100-year-old ballpark.
The $575 million plan, which includes as many as six signs, a new video scoreboard, and movement of the bleachers from the field of play to under the bleachers, which will be demolished and restructured, but the bricks and ivy will remain untouched.
After backing off original expansion plans and settling on a plan of 3,990 square feet for the new scoreboard when the rooftop owners threatened a lawsuit, claiming the original request of 5,700 square feet would obstruct their view.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts eventually decided the renovations needed to move forward for the success of the Cubs to be successful. So the Cubs made the choice to press on, regardless of the threats made by the rooftop owners.
Ricketts has been cordial since the hearing, which was only a few days ago, and continues to carry on a dialogue with the rooftop owners.
“I was confident that everyone has an incentive to work together to save Wrigley Field,” Ricketts said. “Obviously, we’ve always had a very long-term perspective, so [through] a lot of short-term setbacks or friction in the process, we just kept [it] in perspective and tried to take the high road and keep moving forward. I think we’re in a good spot now. We’re looking forward to getting things rolling.” h/t Carrie Muskat, Joe Popely and Daniel Kramer/ MLB.com
The Wrigley Field facilities, as mentioned by many from within the game of baseball, are outdated. After opening the new Spring Training facility in Mesa, AZ., the Cubs felt it was time to start bring the Major League facility up to speed.
Cubs skipper Rick Renteria doesn’t believe any of the charm and history of Wrigley Field will be lost with the changes.
“I think the additions and the improvements will just add to [Wrigley Field] and kind of bring us into the modern era,” Renteria said. “But I don’t think you could ever take away from the reality that we’re still in the throes of a very historic ballpark.”
The decision to move forward was the right one. In my opinion, the Cubs being told by surrounding businesses how to run theirs was unacceptable. There will be backlash, but the Cubs are in a bit of a drought, and needed to close the gap. Business contracts are broken all the time. While I understand the Cubs ventured into the agreement, the rooftop owners didn’t provide a service. The didn’t provide a product. They simply had a view of Wrigley Field.
This decision was fair and just, as was Ricketts move to proceed. This won’t be the end of this story. But the real closing will be in four to five seasons when the work is done, to see if this all pays off and truly does make a difference for our Cubs.