The proposed exterior and concourse renovations are shown here in an image provided by the Chicago Cubs. Image courtesy of cubs.com.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Cubs and the City of Chicago will announce the long-sought after Wrigley Field renovation deal sometime before the team’s home opener on Monday, April 10. Sources close to the talks say the two sides have agreed on several key aspects, including at least two new signs – including a video board in left field – and an increase in night games in coming seasons.
Key differences between the two sides still exist – most notably in the proposed size of the video board. The Cubs are seeking a video board in the range of approximately 6,000 square feet, while Chicago is adamant nothing larger than 3,000 feet is feasible, due to concerns of the rooftop owners.
The deal is not done yet, as negotiators still seek ways to minimize the damage to rooftop owners’ chances to run their businesses effectively, something Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney has been a major advocate of in recent weeks. The rooftop owners reportedly have put forward a plan that include seven pieces of signage on the rooftop buildings themselves, as opposed to inside the stadium, where it is believed “a couple” rooftops would be “minimally” impacted, according to the Sun-Times report.
The current deal between the Cubs and the rooftop owners will not be altered, and will continue for the next 11 years – the duration of the existing contract.
In addition to the new signage, the team has reportedly attained an increase in both night games – from the current 30 to “40 or more” – and in non-baseball events, such as concerts. Currently, only three events can be hosted at Wrigley annually, but with this agreement, more concerts and similar events would be possible. Details regarding several late afternoon starts, 3:10 p.m., to be precise, have also been floating around. These six-to-ten games would likely take place on Fridays and Saturdays.
In return for these concessions by the City of Chicago, the Cubs are expected to back additional police at game days, as well as erect a parking garage near the stadium – some 300 spots, something that has been a major concern of Tunney.
“Wrigley Field has about 1,400 spaces, which is like the least of any baseball team in America — by far. . . . Boston has 4,500. Same congested neighborhood. So, we’ve got work to do. … You wonder why the neighbors are concerned about parking, traffic and congestion,” he said in the Sun-Times report.
The $500 million project is being financed completely by the Ricketts family, and will include a $200 million hotel on land that was bought last year across the street from Wrigley – the current location of a McDonalds.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is hoping to complete a deal that could help him keep the storied franchise in the city, and be able to take at least some of the credit for this deal, which according to the Sun-Times, will generate 1,200 permanent jobs, 800 construction jobs and over $20 million in tax revenue each year for both the city and the state.