Story Summary

Wrigley Field renovation

The Ricketts Family, which owns the Cubs, say they’ll pay the $300-million to rehab Wrigley Field, if some city restrictions are lifted.

Some of their plans include erecting more signs at the park to help raise more revenue; but new signs could block the view of the field from some of the neighbors’ rooftop clubs.

The Cubs also want to add night games and build a hotel in the neighborhood; both proposals raise issues of added traffic congestion, scarce parking, and public safety.

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Rosemont mayor Bradley Stephens gives his thoughts on the ongoing Wrigley Field renovation talks.

Local News
05/02/13

Could the Cubs leave Chicago?

The owner of the Chicago Cubs is painting his plan to renovate Wrigley Field in “take it or leave it” terms.

Tom Ricketts laid out the ball club’s plan to build a hotel and an office building in Wrigleyville and modernize the aging ballpark;  but he said it all hinges on a new Jumbotron screen in left field and more advertising signs, both inside the park and out.

Owners of some of the left field rooftop clubs say the new sign would block the view of the field that they pay the club to protect.

Ricketts says, without the additional revenue the signs at Wrigley would generate, he can’t put a winning team on the field, and he would have to consider moving the Cubs somewhere else.

City planners will review the Cubs’ plan for Wrigley Field; there is no word on when it will be put to a vote.

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Chicago Cubs ownership makes it clear: Let them make changes to Wrigley Field, or they’re taking their ball and going to a new home.

“If we don’t have the ability to generate revenue in our own outfield, then we’ll have to take a look at moving, no question,” Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said Wednesday.

That is what Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said, but did he mean it?

“I don’t believe he meant that,” said Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th Ward. Wrigley Field is in Tunney’s ward. “We’ve come a long way. We’re going to stay together.”

Imagine the Wrigleyville neighborhood without Wrigley Field. Now, imagine it with a new and improved Wrigley: Billboards in right field, a 6,000-foot jumbtron in left field, advertising on a nearby hotel and above the proposed clocktower. The plan would update the interior of the park, expand its bathrooms and improve player areas.

The price tag? $500 million.

The rooftop owners and the rest of us are getting our first glimpse of the controversial 6,000 square-foot scoreboard in left field that would generate millions for the team. Millions, Ricketts claims, that could be used to pay for a stronger lineup. Without the advertising, he says, he can’t deliver.

“We can’t go forward and consider Wrigley economically viable if we don’t have control of what we do in the outfield. It’s just too important to the team and the resources the team needs to compete,” Rickets said.

“One of the reasons we had the framework was there is now certainty around what they needed. There will be a jumbotron in left field. There will be signage in right field,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Beth Murphy of Murphy’s Bleachers says she just wants a seat at the table as plans are firming up. Her neighborhood without Wrigley Field? “I don’t think a new ballpark in a parking lot is interesting, and that’s why other ballparks don’t have the tourism that Wrigley Field does,” she said.

The timing of all of this? No deadline for the proposal yet, but once approved — if approved — it will take five consecutive off-seasons to complete.

Here are renderings of the most recently proposed Wrigley Field renovations:

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Check out more photos of proposed Wrigley Field renovations on Chicago Tribune.com.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reacts to a comment Tom Ricketts made that if he doesn’t get the Wrigley renovations he wants, he’ll consider moving the Cubs.

By Ameet Sachdev Tribune reporter

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts for the first time threatened to move the team out of Wrigley Field if the team doesn’t get approval for more signs in the outfield, including a giant video scoreboard.

He made the remark in answer to a question during an event at the City Club of Chicago Wednesday, after unveiling plans for $300 million in upgrades to the nearly 100-year-old baseball stadium.

The team’s renovation proposal calls for re-creating green terra-cotta canopies, along with the windows and wrought-iron fencing, that graced parts of Wrigley’s exterior in the 1930s, according to drawings released to the media Tuesday.

At the same time, Kenney insisted the team needs to make more money to compete, thus the proposed addition of more than 41,000 square feet of signs to the stadium’s interior and surrounding neighborhood.

The plans call for a 6,000-square-foot, three-panel video screen atop the left field wall that would be topped by lights illuminating the power alleys in right and left field. There also would be a 1,000-square-foot sign in right field and four new signs ringing the outfield. Those include two new LED signs akin to the one introduced in right field last year.

While all that, if approved, would change the interior look of the stadium, the area just beyond Wrigley also would take on a different, and far more commercial, appearance. Advertising would adorn a proposed seven-story hotel at the northwest corner of Clark and Addison streets and six-story retail-office building on the triangular parcel west of the stadium. They would be linked by a walkway over Clark with its own sign.

Nonvideo, or static, ads would top the 91-foot-tall hotel, as well as the clock tower on the office building. A three-panel video screen would be placed on the office building, inside the plaza, where seven obelisks would carry more static ads. Banners featuring team sponsors would hang from the hotel, facing Clark.

Change also would come to the southeast corner of the stadium, where the site of the Captain Morgan Club would be replaced with a two-story structure topped by signs and a deck.

Add in the updated concourses, expanded bathrooms, improved player areas and outdoor terraces, and the broader idea is to give the stadium modern amenities, create a town square for Wrigleyville and generate more revenue, both to cover the cost of the renovation and provide revenue for team development, Kenney said.

“We have to generate new revenue,” he said. “We have to catch up to our large-market competitors on ballpark revenues, so this project has to work from a financial perspective as well.”

Tribune reporters Hal Dardick and Bill Ruthhart contributed

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts on moving the baseball team if video boards blocked at Wrigley Field. (WGN-TV)

The Chicago Cubs are spelling out the details of the ball club’s plan to renovate Wrigley Field.

Additions will include a new 6,000 square foot video screen above the left field bleachers, and more video advertising throughout the outfield.

The Cubs also plan to bring back some of the old windows and wrought-iron fencing that graced the ballpark back in the 1930′s.

The concourses will be updated, the restrooms expanded and outdoor terraces added.

The project also includes a new 7-story hotel and a 6-story office building.

It still must be approved by the Chicago City Council.

A deal was announced today and Wrigley Field is in for a facelift.

But Cub fans who have pledged their loyalty to a losing team and the historic old ballpark, want one thing: A win. Changes to the structure, its entertainment schedule and offerings even when the team is not playing at the Friendly Confines all play a part in bringing home the World Series pennant.

Or so the owners hope.

Tom Ricketts has been behind Wrigley renovations for years. His dream is to improve the current park, bring in more money and put it toward getting better players. It’s a $500 million plan expected to create 2,000 jobs and bring in $20 million a year in new tax revenue for the city and state.

How’s he going to do it?

With a 5,000 square foot video score board, 40 night games–not just 30 and  four concerts on off game nights which is up from 3 a year.  Not to mention an 800 square foot see-thru sign.

That is one thing roof top owners are not happy about, one of many things.

In a statement, the Wrigleyville Rooftops Association said “No community process, city ordinance, or agreement without our consent can or should dismiss contractual rights granted to us by the Chicago Cubs in 2004.”

Which means if rooftop owners don’t get what they want, they plan to sue.

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts says today is a milestone for the Cubs.  He calls it a massive investment that will help the team bring home a World Series title.

Ricketts, City Hall and Alderman Tom Tunney (44th Ward) have agreed on a framework for a $500 million rehab of the century-old ball park.   The deal was sealed Saturday after several weeks of negotiations.

It was a big hurdle, but there are more to clear.  The Landmarks Commission, the Plan Commission and the City Council would all have to sign off on the deal.

The Cubs plan would build a hotel across the street, an office building with a pedestrian bridge connecting the two buildings over Clark.  It would extend the left field wall onto Waveland, install a Jumbotron-like screen in left field and a sign in right field.

The plan also includes 40 night games, up from 30; 4 concerts a year, up from 3; 1,000 free remote parking spaces with shuttle bus service; 30 additional security officers after games; and Sheffield would be closed during weekend games for street fairs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The Cubs will also contribute $1 million for a new park and a playlot on School Street and another $3.7 million to the community for other projects.  Ricketts says it will create jobs and economic opportunity.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the renovation plan is good for Wrigley Field and good for the neighborhood.

Negotiations began after Ricketts’ offer in January to pay for the renovations if the city relaxed landmark restrictions.

The Jumbotron was the key sticking point for rooftop owners who have threatened to sue over anything that blocked their views.  When asked about a potential lawsuit Ricketts responded, “We’ll take that as it comes”.

The Wrigleyville Rooftops Association released a statement today saying it will play an active role in the community process to approve the planned development or any changes to the Landmark Ordinance.

“We are pleased the Chicago Cubs will participate in a community process to flesh out these details more in-depth. However, no community process, city ordinance, or agreement without our consent can or should dismiss contractual rights granted to us by the Chicago Cubs in 2004,” the statement reads.  “Rooftop owners reserve the right to use any and all means necessary to enforce the remaining 11 years of our 20-year contract. We, as well as every interested party in the Lakeview neighborhood, will study the plans submitted to the City of Chicago and play a constructive role in moving forward.”

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts commented talked about the Wrigley Field renovation deal reached between the team and the City of Chicago.

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