According to David Kaplan of CSN Chicago, Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is set to unveil these proposed renovations to Wrigley Field during a speech at the City Club of Chicago on Wednesday morning. As you can see in the above photo, a massive new jumbotron is going to be one of the highlights of the $300 million plan to completely renovate the nation’s second-oldest ballpark (behind Fenway Park in Boston).
However, jumbotrons themselves do not cost 300 million bucks. CBS Sports lists out several of the planned improvements to the Friendly Confines.
- A significantly larger home clubhouse — the Cubs currently have the smallest home clubhouse in baseball — with a new weight room, medical area, player’s lounge, batting cages, and media center for interviews.
- Wider concourses that will make entering and exiting the stadium much easier.
- New restaurants and clubs, as well as improved concessions.
- Restrooms will increase by 45 percent.
- Skyboxes will be enlarged and renovated. A party deck in left field is also in the works.
- New plaza area for pre- and post-game festivities as well as non-game day events.
- An office building at the corner of Waveland Avenue and Clark Street will be built to house team, stadium, and concession personnel.
- A seven-story hotel complex across the street from Wrigley. The office building and hotel complex will be connected by a walkway over Clark street.
Because Wrigley is a national historic landmark, it cannot be torn down. Thus, the team has been working with the city on figuring out the best way to bring the beautiful, but old, park into the 21st century. The task is more difficult than one might expect, because they don’t want to lose the old-timey feel that is one of the main attractions to Cubs games.
“The Cubs are committed to making sure that we restore the park to what it looked like originally,” said Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney. “From the wrought iron to the terra cotta we want to bring all of that back in a modern way that fits with the feel of the stadium. We also want the office building and the hotel complex to fit in with the ballpark so that everything looks like it goes together.”
The entire renovation plan is going to be funded with private dollars. This decision, of course, was after the Ricketts family tried to get the city to pay for it through tax dollars.
It will take roughly five years to complete the renovations, although the new locker room and weight training facilities will be done in just this upcoming offseason.
Photos via CSN Chicago, courtesy of Chicago Cubs.