Breaking News Bar
updated: 1/20/2013 8:16 AM

Cubs offer $300 million Wrigley rehab plan

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • This is what the outside concourse could look like under the Cubs' five-year renovation plan being proposed for Wrigley Field.

      This is what the outside concourse could look like under the Cubs' five-year renovation plan being proposed for Wrigley Field.
    Illustration courtesy of Chicago Cubs

  • The Cubs say their $300 million plan to renovate and update Wrigley Field would still preserve much of its historical feel.

      The Cubs say their $300 million plan to renovate and update Wrigley Field would still preserve much of its historical feel.
    Illustration courtesy of Chicago Cubs

  • This aerial view shows what the upper level concourse area could look like under a five-year renovation plan the Cubs are proposing for Wrigley Field. The Cubs wants some relief from the city to add more signage options and other improvements as part of the $300 million project.

      This aerial view shows what the upper level concourse area could look like under a five-year renovation plan the Cubs are proposing for Wrigley Field. The Cubs wants some relief from the city to add more signage options and other improvements as part of the $300 million project.
    Illustration courtesy of Chicago Cubs

 
 

The Cubs sounded as serious Saturday as they've ever sounded in trying to get their desired renovations to Wrigley Field.

It won't be easy and it won't be cheap, but the team rolled out a convincing and power-packed power-point presentation that won widespread approval from the fans who jammed a hotel ballroom at the annual fan convention in Chicago.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

After chairman Tom Ricketts warmed up the crowd in the morning, president of business operations Crane Kenney rolled out an audiovisual program in the afternoon, showing what the nearly 100-year-old landmark would look like after a major facelift.

The plan would take five off-seasons to complete and would cost $300 million. On top of that, the Cubs say they would not have to play games at another park while the renovation is going on.

The kicker is money, but the Cubs made an assertive offer to the city of Chicago: Relax some of the restrictions that prevent revenue-generating items in and around the park -- such as signage -- and the Ricketts family will foot the bill.

"The fact is, if you look at all the limitations that we have, whether that's signage in the outfield, which we're not allowed to do, or whether that's what kind of stuff we do in the park or around the park, I think we'd just like to have a little more flexibility to have some options on that kind of stuff," Ricketts said. "Just give us some relief on some of these restrictions and then we'll take care of Wrigley Field."

The Cubs would like to begin work this coming fall, and Kenney said the Cubs and the city have had "good talks" over the past 10 months. If the Cubs get what they want, here's what fans can expect:

•The upper and lower seating areas would be completely rebuilt.

•The Cubs players would get a bigger clubhouse and have a batting-cage tunnel nearby. The dugouts also would be expanded.

•Another LED information board, similar to the new one in right field, would be added in left field to give fans more statistics and game-day information. Some fans have long opposed a Jumbotron-type info board.

The idea has been discussed by the Cubs, but they say if they were to install one, it would not include such features as a "Kiss Cam" or other gimmicks.

"Probably five or six conventions ago, I raised it as a topic, and clearly, the sentiment was opposed to it," Kenney said. "All of our focus groups have swung the other way on, 'If it's done right.' That's the key comment we hear from people: 'If you do it right and you give us a chance to celebrate a great play again, learn more about the player, understand the game at a higher level,' they're supportive."

•There would be a new fan deck in left field, similar to what the Cubs added last year in right field.

•A restaurant would take over the team's administrative offices on the third-base side of the building.

•The facade of the ballpark would be restored, and landmarked items such as the hand-operated scoreboard, the marquee and the ivy on the outfield walls would not be disturbed.

The Cubs and the city have had a somewhat contentious relationship over the years. Kenney and Ricketts said the Cubs have been in talks with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and that they remain hopeful a deal can get done.

During the ownership session Saturday morning, Ricketts told fans the Cubs are a business and "not a museum." He said that because the Cubs own Wrigley Field, they ought to be able to do with it as they please.

"We'd like to have some freedom in the way we run the ballpark, top to bottom, no different from the other 29 clubs," Kenney said later in the day. "I don't think anyone's asking for something extraordinary here.

"It's really simple. If we're going to be a private enterprise and expected to pay for all of our renovations, we should be treated like one. If we're a public enterprise that's going to be restricted like a public asset, when it comes time for renovations, we'd like to be supported. And we're happy to do either one."

Members of several areas of the Cubs operation were on hand for the session. Kenney cited the jobs that would be created by the renovation as well as the ongoing economic benefit he said Wrigley Field brings to the city in tourism dollars.

General manager Jed Hoyer touted the upgraded facilities for the players. It's generally agreed in baseball that the Cubs have the worst and most cramped facilities in the major leagues for their players.

"The better you treat the players and the more amenities they have, they tend to reciprocate in kind," Hoyer said.

bmiles@dailyherald.com

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here