Mesa officials have released the first site plan for the Wrigleyville West development, which will be the future home of the Chicago Cubs’ Spring Training.

The development is intended to be a destination for tourists who want to enjoy not only the Cubs in Spring Training, but also a broader Cubs-based experience. For those who have made the trip to Hohokam Park in Mesa to see the Cubs train, you can probably understand why the Cubs would like to upgrade not only the facilities, but the surrounding area. That’s not a shot at the current area; just an acknowledgement that, beyond watching the Cubs, there isn’t a whole lot to do.

As for the first-released plans, it looks like the development going to start out a bit smaller than previously anticipated, but with plenty of room for expansion.

Plans show a plaza at the stadium’s entrance and soccer fields where the team will build the privately funded Wrigleyville. The Cubs are negotiating with potential tenants and can construct buildings quickly even if specifics aren’t in place yet, Smith said. The district footprint is modest but could include substantial development if buildings go vertical, he said.

“It is small but it’s very high-density,” Smith said. “The idea is to attract people to a very small urban place.”

The stadium will sit roughly in the middle of the mile-wide site on Eighth Street that spans from Dobson Road to the Loop 101. Practice fields will flank the stadium’s west side. Wrigleyville is situated immediately to the east and a revamped Riverview Park will link the entertainment district to Dobson.

A broad path — or possibly a road — will serve as a gateway as patrons walk from Dobson to the stadium.

The area set aside for Wrigleyville will initially be developed as grass field on about 26 acres. The path eventually will be lined with shops that Smith envisions as something resembling the Kierland Commons shopping center or Santan Village in Gilbert.

The Cubs will have immediate access to 3 acres for commercial development, City Manager Chris Brady said. After that’s developed, the team has options on another 3 acres. Eventually, the entire 26 acres could be developed.

Mesa will give the Cubs the first option to develop property if it meets deadlines, but the specifics are under negotiation. The sides plan to finalize three agreements in deal the City Council will vote on Sept. 26. The deals cover the site’s development, facility use and options for selling property to the team.

The conceptual plans also include a grander Riverview Park. Ideas include a tower visible from nearby freeways to boost the area’s profile, water features, play areas and artistic shading structures.

There are many more details (and a larger version of the picture) at the link. It sounds like developers – and the Cubs – have the right idea: (1) improve the actual training facilities for Cubs players and staff, (2) improve the game-viewing experience for fans, and (3) give fans something enjoyable to do before/after the game, so that they can make a day of the experience. I’m looking forward to checking out Wrigleyville West when it’s finally completed.

The complex is expected to be open in 2013, but may not be ready for Spring Training until 2014.

  • meersaa’d

    Brett, who is the cubs “future” at 3rd base? if we let ramirez go, then there isn’t a solid 3rd baseman for years to come. there’s josh vitters but there talking about moving him to the OF? why?! we have enough outfielders for crying out loud!

    • Brett

      Nobody knows who the future Cubs’ 3B is, because that guy hasn’t yet emerged. The system doesn’t have a great option – Vitters’ bat is coming around, but his glove still isn’t; LeMahieu and DeWitt could play good defense at 3B, but their bats might be too weak; and Flaherty is a question mark in both aspects – and the free agent market is weak. There could be some mystery trade, but the Cubs are most likely to be treading water at 3B until some prospect develops/emerges (it’ll be a long wait for Javier Baez) or until Starlin Castro moves over.

      • Toosh

        The Cubs system doesn’t have a “great” option at many positions.

        • Brett

          Nope. Center field and bullpen. That’s about it. At least in the next couple years, anyway.

  • michael

    ^ Brett you’re wrong, castro will not move over, or atleast doesn’t want to, he has already said he’s played SS his whole life, and wants to continue at that position.

    • Brett

      Do I really have to point out why that doesn’t make me “wrong” in suggesting that, among many possible options in the future for 3B, Castro playing at 3B is one of them?

      • EQ76

        I’m sure guys like Ripken and ARod thought they’d be SS all their careers too..  Castro doesn’t have the ultimate say so on this.  Michael, you have 3 more fingers pointing back at you.

        • JulioZuleta

          four, I wanted to play shortstop for the Cubs too, but I was passed up (inexplicably) for better options also.

  • michael

    what about chase headly? we could make a trade with the pads to move headly, maybe a darwin barney and some one else with some cash?

    • CubFan Paul

      Barney has an OPS of .669 and Headley’s is .787 (.292/.380/.407/.787). Why would the Padres trade their everyday third baseman with a career .393 Slugging Percentage for a utility guy who barely slugs .350 and barely gets on base? I think the Padres want to win too

  • Alan D.

    michael: that doesn’t make him “wrong” he was simply sugggesting it.
    and i like that darwin barney for chase headly, accept i highy doubt the pads would be willing to move him.

  • michael

    wow. all you guys are just haters. nufff said!

    • MichiganGoat

      Michael don’t take it personally, you can’t expect to take shots without receiving some back, especially if you go after “PapaBear Brett” his “Cubs” are oddly protective of him. Personally I think he needs acouple shots to keep him in check.

      • TWC

        I would gladly take a few shots with any of you.

        That’s what you meant, right?  I’ll have Jameson, thanks.

        • miggy80

          Did somebody say Jameson? I’m in.

      • Brett

        I am the infallible king.

      • Dan0mite

        “PapaBear Brett” his “Cubs” are oddly protective of him.”

        This sentence makes me feel icky.

  • hansman1982

    So I really like what they are doing in Mesa and I like how Ricketts is spending money on facilities throughout the org.

    • CubFan Paul

      Ricketts isnt paying for the Mesa development, the city of Mesa is.. El Cheapo Cricketts leveraged Mesa against a Florida city to see who would blink first, but if Ricketts was using his own money the redevelopment in Mesa would be bigger with even more revenue vendors/attractions (because he has more to spend than Mesa)

  • TWC

    You know, I really love Spring Training.  My fist trip to Mesa felt like a pilgrimage. And I have to admit, I have a really hard time understanding the problem with the facilities there. The park seemed to be in fine shape. It’s certainly true that there wasn’t much to do in the area before/after the games, but having seen three or four other spring stadium complexes in the area, there ain’t much to do *anywhere* out there. Any of you ever been out to that Surprise Stadium? Well, surprise!  It’s just a ball field surrounded by desert.

    I mean, I get what the Cubs are trying to do, classing the place up a bit, making for a better experience and all. But it IS just Spring Training though. The nominal starters are only going to be playing three innings of every game. I guess the Cubs are just making sure that when fan interest in the game ends (usually by the 5th inning), there are plenty of opportunities for the organization to make money off of them outside of the ball park.

    • Brett

      Well, I mean, yeah. Exactly…

      • TWC

        I have mad skillz when it comes to belaboring the obvious.

        • Brett

          Nah. I just think sometimes my pro-Cubs-making-money bent makes me inclined to speak generically about “the positives” of various things without making explicit that what I mean is “positive for the Cubs’ bottom line.”

  • ricosanto

    TWC Obviously you have not been to the new white sox spring training facilty.It is state of the art just like this new place will be. The cubs do not need to share with another team like the sox do.HoHoKam is nioce for the 70s and 80s.