Cubs, City Of Chicago Reach Agreement For $500M Wrigley Field Renovation
The city of Chicago and the Cubs last night announced an agreement to "renovate iconic Wrigley Field" with a $500M plan that gets team Chair Tom Ricketts "nearly everything he sought," according to a front-page piece by Hal Dardick of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The deal "clears the way for the Cubs to submit formal plans for the ballpark rehab and a nearby hotel and office building." The agreement, which will see team Owner the Ricketts family contribute approximately $300M for Wrigley and $200M for the hotel, could be a "major economic boost for the city without a hit on taxpayers" as Ricketts ultimately decided to forgo requesting public money for the project. With the deal, Ricketts gets "more night games and lucrative advertising signs, even if some of his plans were scaled back a bit." Less "certain is the plan's effect" on the owners of 16 rooftop clubs overlooking Wrigley. The goal of the city and team is to "get the plans approved by the time the last pitch is thrown at Wrigley on Sept. 25 so work can start right after that." Some of it is "expected to take years." Perhaps the most "substantial changes" in the agreement "are a Jumbotron-like screen in left field and a new sign in right field akin to the Toyota sign now in left." A statement released by the Cubs last night indicated that they also could "install additional signs within the stadium that would not block the rooftop club views." The right-field sign would be "up to 800 square feet, more than twice the size of the Toyota sign" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/15).
DEAL DETAILS: In Chicago, Fran Spielman reports under the terms of the agreement, the left-field wall would be "extended outward by as much as 10 feet -- taking out a lane of parking on Waveland -- to give the Cubs more concession space and mitigate the impact of a 5,000-square-foot video scoreboard in left field." The right-field wall also may be "extended outward, taking out the sidewalk on Sheffield, to lessen the impact of an 800-square-foot see-through sign." The Cubs would be "permitted to install signage inside the landmark stadium, including an 'LED ribbon board' within the seating bowl." Compensation for the parking lane on Waveland and the sidewalk on Sheffield is "expected to be finalized during a planning process expected to produce the 'necessary approvals' by the end of the season" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/15). The AP's Babwin & Nichols report the plan also "addresses chronic complaints about parking in the densely populated Wrigleyville neighborhood, including the addition of 1,000 'remote' parking spots that will be free and come with shuttle service" (AP, 4/15). In Chicago, Channick & Karp note Cubs VP/Communications & Community Affairs Julian Green last night "declined to speculate on the advertising revenue potential of the screen." But sources said that a screen at a ballpark like Wrigley could "generate several million dollars a year, perhaps as much as $5 million." Over 20 years, that would "represent nearly one-third of the renovation cost" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/15).