You’ve undoubtedly heard about “the Triangle Building” a number of times, without ever fully having an appreciation for just what it is. Well, for starters, it doesn’t exist. Yet. It is a proposed multi-use structure, to be placed on a triangular space adjacent to Wrigley Field (West, as you can see in the picture there), which would house Cubs offices, medical facilities, and workout facilities, together with private commercial operations, and possibly parking (and, if the Cubs were smart, a small hotel – just sayin’). The Cubs have been working on a plan for the Triangle Building for years.
The estimated cost on the project is about $200 million – that’s in addition to the estimated $300 million required to renovate Wrigley, itself – and, because of the funding brouhaha, there has been some doubt about whether it would ever happen. Well, it sounds like it’s going to happen when the Wrigley renovation happens. From Crain’s Chicago:
Someone who would know has given me the details. Though things are still moving around, the public is being asked to put in both less and more than you might suspect.
On the table is a $500 million or so plan — $300 million to reconstruct the nearly century-old Wrigley and $200 million for the “Triangle” parking, entertainment and multiuse structure off the west wall of the ballpark.
The family and/or team would pay for the Triangle building. That means $300 million is needed for the ballpark proper.
Half would come from the team, presumably in increased revenue from more signage inside Wrigley and retail and other entertainment in what amounts to a game-day carnival on Waveland Avenue on Wrigley’s north side and Sheffield Avenue to the east.
And half would come from $150 million or so in bonds to be retired with increased revenue from the existing city and Cook County amusement taxes on ticket sales. Specifically, debt service would get the first 6 percent in growth above a base level of around $15 million a year now.
The article goes on from there to discuss the $150 million in public funding, and how it could actually set up a system by which the Cubs could continue to receive an effective public subsidy long after the Wrigley Field renovations are paid for (in sum, the Cubs would get a cut of the growth on amusement taxes once they go past a certain threshold – seems fair to me, but I’d imagine that part of the plan is bound to be controversial). It’s a good read on the subject, if you’re into the x’s and o’s of public financing.
For me, the most interesting part was the certitude with which the Triangle Building project is being discussed. You don’t need me to tell you that the Cubs’ player facilities, office facilities, medical facilities, etc., are woefully behind the times. It’s hard to quantify the competitive disadvantage at which it puts the Cubs, but the disadvantage is real. And, candidly, I think the commercial aspect of the building – Cubs shops, maybe a Cubs Hall of Fame, maybe a terrace level with a view – sound like enjoyable additions to the Wrigleyville area.
I look forward the Wrigley Field renovations for obvious reasons, but I’m almost as excited about the prospect of the Triangle Building.
(A final, random tidbit: when you search for “Cubs Triangle Building” on Google, here’s the first result. That’s a blank page on Cubs.com, which appears to be a placeholder titled “Ballpark Improvements.” It’s also a redirected link from Google, which was originally titled Wrigley Field Improvement Illustrations (for which the permalink had the extension “ballpark/expansion”). Maybe that page has existed for a long time, and I just hadn’t seen it. Or maybe, preparations are underway.)
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