Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Tom Tunney (44th Ward) and Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts announced today a framework which will allow the Cubs to begin the City’s approval process to undertake a $500 million renovation of Wrigley Field and have a dramatic and lasting positive effect on the entire Wrigleyville community.
"For nearly a century, Wrigley Field has been a cherished institution in Chicago and the Wrigleyville community, as well as a cathedral of baseball,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “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. I want to thank the Ricketts family for their commitment to Chicago and commend all parties involved for making this agreement without the use of any taxpayer money. It will have a long-lasting positive effect on Chicago.”
The framework contains many elements and addresses key areas including: community investment, parking, public safety, amenities, the ballpark operations and scheduling. Most importantly, it includes a commitment by all parties to work together toward obtaining the necessary approvals for the restoration of Wrigley Field by the conclusion of the 2013 baseball season.
“We are excited about moving forward with the approval process,” said Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts. “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.”
“Lakeview encompasses more than Wrigley Field,” said 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney. “There are thousands of residents and hundreds of businesses who all contribute to the unique character of our neighborhood. 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. I’m proud they’ve recommitted to Wrigley Field.”
There are a number of community benefits in the proposal to better address community concerns regarding traffic and public safety.
There will be a new parking plan for Wrigley Field which will call for 1,000 free remote parking spots with a shuttle to Wrigley Field. The Cubs, Alderman’s office and the Chicago Department of Transportation will jointly develop a marketing and awareness campaign designed to educate fans to use remote parking or other transportation alternatives, such as bikes and the CTA.
Additionally, there will be new Clark Street traffic lights to control game-day traffic and the Cubs will work with the City and community on a new public safety plan, which will provide 30 additional safety personnel outside the park after games for the safety of nearby residents.
Finally, the Cubs will contribute to the School Street Play Lot funding effort and make annual contributions each of the next ten years for public projects benefiting the community agreed upon by both Alderman Tunney and the Cubs.
In terms of the makeup of Wrigley Field, the proposal will call for a video board in left field as well as a right field sign in the style of the existing Toyota sign. The Cubs will work with the city on placement of both signs to minimize impact on nearby rooftops to the extent consistent with the needs of the team.
The Cubs would also receive the ability to install signage inside the park, including the seating bowl, in locations which do not impact rooftop views.
The proposal allows the Cubs 40 night games for baseball with mechanisms in place, such as a special City Council ordinance, to allow for additional night games including times when required by Major League Baseball’s national television contract. This complement of 40 night games does not include the playoffs or other games excluded under the current ordinance. The framework will also allow four concerts per year to be authorized by special ordinance, six 3:05 starts on Friday afternoon, as well as greater flexibility for offseason and smaller events at Wrigley Field.
Also, the proposal will put in place the following: a two-story Captain Morgan Club on Addison Street with a merchandise store and space for a visitors clubhouse; will allow the Cubs to extend beer sales to the end of the 7th inning or 10:30 pm, whichever is earlier; and will permit the team use of Sheffield Avenue for weekend home games between Memorial Day and Labor Day beginning two hours before a game and ending at the end of 2nd inning. In addition, the City would vacate a parking lane on Waveland Avenue for Cubs to build a new exterior wall.
The framework additionally calls for a number of opportunities for the Ricketts family to invest outside of the stadium, including a hotel that will accommodate 175 rooms, 75 parking spaces, food and beverage, retail and a 40,000 square foot health club, and a pedestrian bridge with public access over Clark Street connecting the hotel and plaza.
The Ricketts family will be permitted to construct a building at the north end of the Triangle property to house Cubs offices, a hotel meeting space, as well as a plaza that will be managed by the team, retail shops and a kids zone. The Cubs will further be allowed to reconstruct the Brown Parking Lot on Eddy Street. These projects will go through the planned development and other formal approval processes with community input.
The Cubs will be allowed to place signage along the hotel, the office building, and the plaza to accommodate significant advertising and sponsorship opportunities. Included in this sign package will be a four screen video board within the plaza that, in addition to advertising, will allow the Cubs to broadcast Cubs games and ‘Movies in the Plaza’ for the community.
In sum, these elements make up a robust package which allows the Cubs organization to move forward on these issues and work with the community on their other needs as part of the next phase of the development process.
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