[If you want to know where things stand on the Wrigley Field renovation, check these recent updates. Since getting approval this Summer from the Landmarks Commission for the revised renovation plan, the Chicago Cubs have consistently said, “Yes, we are proceeding in earnest with the renovation after the season.” We are in a trust-but-verify situation, however, after multiple years of near starts and hang-ups, and with the knowledge that the local bureaucracy and rooftops loom as hurdles at any given moment. So, every sign I see that work will actually begin after the season is, to me, worth noting.]
A couple days after reportedly informing some season ticket holders that they may have to move to accommodate the construction of a new control room for the video boards planned for the outfield, the Chicago Cubs informed folks in the community that more work on Waveland and Sheffield Avenues is forthcoming, with work on the bleachers to follow. The Cubs are also readying the triangle property to the west of the park for work.
The update, in pertinent part:
Monday, September 16, the City of Chicago Department of Water Management will begin work to relocate water lines under the street. Sheffield Avenue will be closed from Addison to Waveland, starting September 16 through the completion of the work, which is estimated to take two to three weeks.
Peoples Gas will now shift their focus to work on Waveland Avenue. Starting Monday, September 16, portions of Waveland between Sheffield and Clark will be closed based on the needs of Peoples Gas ….
Fencing will also go up around the Red and Purple Lots adjacent to Clark St. and Waveland Ave. to facilitate work being done on that parcel of land.
Following the relocation of water lines, work will begin on the Budweiser Bleacher expansion, which will also require closing of Sheffield Avenue. We anticipate completion by Opening Day 2015.
Drilling that down for you:
- Waveland (left field) and Sheffield (right field) are the streets behind the outfield walls at Wrigley Field. Pursuant to the plan to bump out those outfield walls, certain logistical, non-Wrigley things have to be done outside of the ballpark. The utility companies, in coordination with the city, previously worked on Sheffield to relocate gas lines, and now will do the same on Waveland. Now the city will work to move the water lines under Sheffield. These things are precursors to the outfield wall construction, and obviously would not be undertaken unless everyone was legitimately expecting the outfield work to move forward after the season.
- To that end, the Cubs state that the bleacher work (which I assume means bleacher/outfield wall) will indeed start after the waterline relocation, which should be soon after the season ends. Previously, the Cubs have said they hope to have the new outfield signage – including the two video boards (JumboTron in left, smaller video board in right) – in place for Opening Day 2015. Doing so will, I believe, require virtually all of the outfield wall work to be completed at the same time, together with a modest expansion of the bleachers.
- And, hey, don’t sleep on the mention of the Red and Purple lots! For the uninitiated, those are the parking lots that currently sit on the triangle parcel of land just west of the ballpark. That’s where the planned plaza and Cubs office building will go, and where the subterranean Cubs clubhouse expansion will be. In other words, fencing that parcel off for work to follow = don’t-get-your-hopes-up-yet-Brett-but-it’s-all-happening-finally-oh-crap-there-go-my-hopes.
In sum, the Cubs are presently taking the kinds of affirmative steps you would expect them to take if they were going to go full steam ahead with the outfield and triangle work after the season – and those two areas were expected to be among the first two areas addressed. That is good.
We don’t yet know what will happen on the back-end of this work – will the rooftops sue the Cubs? will the Cubs be able to maximize the revenue opportunities that the work affords? will there be scheduling delays or problems? will some unforeseen political hurdle arise? will the place look as beautiful as ever? – but we do know that it really does sound like something is actually, finally happening.