We're starting to get a better idea of how the home of the Chicago Cubs could change in the near future.
We're starting to get a better idea of what Wrigley Field may look like once the Chicago Cubs get the modernizations they want.
The Ricketts family, who currently owns the team, has been seeking sweeping renovations for Wrigley since purchasing the Cubs in 2009, unveiling an initial round of renderings in mid-April. But a more contentious round of renderings was unveiled Wednesday, giving a better picture of how a new electronic scoreboard and additional advertising opportunities could interfere with neighboring rooftops whose views provide additional revenue for landlords (a negotiated portion of it shared with the Cubs). Rooftop club owners have previously threatened to sue if their views of the stadium are blocked by any new additions to Wrigley.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has suggested he could be forced to move the team if he doesn't get the revenue opportunities that come with a modern scoreboard and additional signage. According to Crain's Chicago, Ricketts estimates the current limitations of Wrigley's outfield signage costs the team $20 million in revenue per season.
The new renderings aren't limited to the stadium itself, with two new buildings (connected via walkway) proposed across the street. The additions would include a 175-room hotel, an athletic club, retail space, and increased square footage for advertising. The public plaza in front of the stadium would become a year-round space as well, with community events such as movie screenings, farmers markets, ice skating, and of course, more advertising space all proposed.
As for concerns over how the impending changes will strip away the historic character of Wrigley, the renovations as proposed include the re-installation of green terra-cotta canopies and wrought-iron fencing, similar to what existed on the stadium's exterior in the 1930s. Cubs President Crane Kenney even went so far as to say, "this is not trying to make Wrigley new. It's actually trying to make Wrigley old."
Will DeMille, president of the Lake View Citizens' Council, told the Chicago Tribune that his group is concerned about the proposed 91-foot tall hotel despite being in line with Wrigley Field's height. He also expressed concern that a "Times Square-type effect" may occur with the new developments proposed.
According to Crain's, the Cubs filed a planned development application Wednesday and hopes to have full city approval by July.
All images via Chicago Cubs