Although the rooftop battle is still ongoing, you may or may not recall that the Cubs recently received support from the Mayor with respect to a few minor changes to the Wrigley Field renovation and development plan. Because they are changes to the plan originally approved by City Council (and the various commissions/boards thereunder), those changes have to be approved by the same – theoretically much, much less contentious – process.
Today, per Crain’s, the Landmarks Commission took the first step in that process, OK’ing a change to the plan to bump out the right field wall onto Sheffield Avenue. Originally planned for a 15-foot bump-out, the wall will now creep out 25 feet instead. The right field patio, which will overhang the street, will now jut out 16 feet instead of 8 feet. These alterations came as part of the Cubs’ agreement to drop their demand for a pedestrian bridge over Clark (sigh), make certain changes to the hotel planned for west of the park, and reduce night games from 46 to 43 (but with more control over the scheduling of those games). In theory, these alterations could help with the ongoing right field sign drama, but that remains to be seen.
After the outfield walls are bumped out – left field is getting a bump, too – Sheffield will still be a two-way street, but with no parking. Waveland Avenue will become a one-way between Sheffield and Clark. Wrigley Field’s footprint will thus be increased in a way that would otherwise not have been possible. And, if you’ve spent much time in the bleachers, you know that it’s desperately needed.
These changes to the renovation plan still have to go through a committee process and then receive approval from City Council, but, with the Mayor’s backing, that is all expected to be smooth sailing. As for when any of this actually starts to take physical shape, well, that’s still a mystery. The Cubs have been involved in a protracted dispute with the rooftops over outfield signage, and have said they will not proceed with the renovation until they’re certain the rooftops won’t immediately sue to shut the project down.
Hopefully those talks are ongoing …