As expected, today’s Wrigley Field “Restoration” presentation was a whopper. We’ll be discussing this in depth for quite some time, but I wanted to at least get you the high points right away, as well as pictures of the plans (courteously provided by Cubs VP of Communications Julian Green, by way of Sahadev Sharma).
The renovation is expected to cost $300 million (this is just the Wrigley piece), and will be completed over the course of five offseasons. I say “will be,” as opposed to “is proposed to be” or other flabby language like that, because the tenor of the presentation was very much “this is happening.” So, I take them at face, and look forward to things getting underway in earnest next offseason, starting with a renovated Cubs clubhouse and player facilities.
As for the funding aspect, Cubs Business President Crane Kenney was emphatic: the Ricketts family will be paying for the renovation. But he added a caveat: because of the restrictions placed on the Cubs’ ability to advertise, have more night games, have neighborhood events, etc. – in other words, the ways in which the city restricts the Cubs’ ability to maximize revenue at Wrigley Field – the Ricketts’ position is, we’ll fund this thing ourselves so long as you let us run our business unrestricted. Otherwise, if the city is going to tell them what they can and cannot do with Wrigley, then the city should chip in for the renovation. That strikes me as a reasonable dichotomy.
But, on to what you want to see: what are the renovations going to look like? Obviously, the essential elements of Wrigley – the Marquee, the ivy, the Old Scoreboard, will remain. In short, there will be structural upgrades, improved player facilities, improved luxury suites, and increased restrooms and concessions, and more “club” areas together with a restaurant and a new patio area that will serve the upper deck. The Cubs are considering adding a second LED board in left field, much like the one they added to right field last year. Further, they are considering adding an additional patio section just left of the left field bleachers. Lastly, the Cubs are considering the possibility of a JumboTron, but nothing has been decided on that front just yet.
I’ll add a full set of pictures over at the BN Facebook page, which are a bit larger than the versions below, as soon as Facebook/the wi-fi start cooperating here at the hotel. There will also be additional pictures there, for those who just can’t get enough, and I’ll let you know as soon as it’s up. (UPDATE: Here it is.)
For now, these are the most salient ones (and obviously they aren’t final schematics, just renderings of the plans) …
With a facelift, the front of Wrigley will have a polished, classic look:
The concession areas will be improved and expanded:
The improved Cubs player facilities, which will be underneath the ballpark:
The massively upgraded Cubs’ clubhouse:
A cross-section of the Cubs’ clubhouse and batting area:
A cross-section of the grandstand, with added amenities:
Another cross-section of additional amenities:
The proposed additional patio area in left field:
And the proposed second LED board in left (which is so seamless, it’s hard to see):
All in all, it’s very tasteful, but significant. I look forward to discussing this a whole lot more in the near future.