$500M Wrigley Field deal includes hotel, videoboard, more night games, beer and parking

April 15, 2013 5:26:14 PM PDT
''We're all together on this,'' Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said Monday of a $500 million deal reached with the city to renovate Wrigley Field -- which includes adding a videoboard, more night games, and longer beer sales -- and to build a nearby hotel and park.

$300 million will go toward renovations of the Friendly Confines. The other $200 million is for a nearby hotel.

"We have reached a significant framework for a deal. . . now the hard work begins to move this forward," Ricketts, Cubs chairman said. "The Cubs and Ricketts family will be making a significant commitment to this city, and we look forward to it getting approved."

The deal includes:

  • a 6,000-square foot video board in left field
  • a 1,000 square-foot transparent sign in right field
  • 40 night games
  • street fairs during weekend games
  • a new park and play lot
  • a hotel
  • more parking
  • more police detail
  • and extending beer sales into the 7th inning or 10:30 p.m., whichever comes sooner

There are also plans for more merchandise and pedestrian-friendly outdoor space. Officials say they plan to try and limit any changes that may obscure rooftop views. Rooftop business owners have threatened to sue if their views of the ball field are blocked.

"I have not spoken to rooftop owners," Ricketts said. "We want to be thoughtful about how it is placed, and be respectful of the people it may impact."

Ricketts said there will be community meetings as they move forward on the deal.

The Wrigleyville Rooftops Association released a statment, "We are pleased the Chicago Cubs will participate in a community process to flesh out these details more in-depth. However, no community process, city ordinance, or agreement without our consent can or should dismiss contractual rights granted to us by the Chicago Cubs in 2004. Rooftop owners reserve the right to use any and all means necessary to enforce the remaining 11 years of our 20-year contract. We, as well as every interested party in the Lakeview neighborhood, will study the plans submitted to the City of Chicago and play a constructive role in moving forward."

"Each of them benefits from the Cubs and there is no doubt our neighborhood is better and more vibrant with the Cubs at Clark and Addison," Ald. Tom Tunney (44th Ward) said in a statement.

Fans and Wrigleyville residents say the changes are inevitable.

"It's an old stadium, you probably want to fix it up to make it look nicer so it can have some more years to come with these renovations, I would think it will make things better not worse minus the rooftops, hopefully they can work it out," Carlos Guerra said.

"I think it will be a great impact on the neighborhood, economically, it couldn't be better," Kevin O'Rourke said.

"I don't like the visual scoreboard," Cole Frankel said. "I don't think it needs it, why add it? People love Wrigley Field anyway. Why bother adding it?"

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney sealed the new deal late Sunday, two weeks after the Cubs' self-imposed April 1 deadline for the home opener.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says it is a good deal for the Cubs and the city.

"This framework allows the Cubs to restore the Friendly Confines and pursue their economic goals, while respecting the rights and quality of life of its neighbors. It will have a long-lasting positive effect on Chicago," he wrote in a statement.

The Wrigley Field renovation agreement will create 2,000 new jobs and bring in $20 million per year to the city of Chicago.

"We are excited about moving forward with the approval process," Ricketts wrote in a statement. "Under the leadership of Mayor Emanuel and Alderman Tunney, we believe the Cubs proposal will help us invest in Wrigley Field and the Lakeview community. We are anxious to work with our community as we seek the approvals required to move the project forward."