News

Chicago council to approve $500 million Wrigley Field upgrades

Chicago council to approve $500 million Wrigley Field upgrades

An general view of Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, April 15, 2013. Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts announced a $500 million development plan to renovate the 99-year-old ballpark. Photo: Reuters/Jim Young

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Chicago City Council is expected to approve on Wednesday a $500 million proposed renovation of Wrigley Field, the historic home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

The 99-year-old ballpark, famous for its ivy-covered outfield walls and hand-operated scoreboard, is a key tourist attraction and has been declared a city landmark, so major plans like a jumbo video message board in left field and a neighboring hotel need approval.

The privately financed proposal includes a $300 million renovation of the park itself and $200 million for improvements outside the park, including the hotel.

The plans have already been approved by the city’s landmarks and plan commissions, and the city council’s zoning committee approved the proposal on Tuesday evening.

The Cubs started playing at Wrigley in 1916 and have not won a World Series since 1908, the longest championship drought in Major League Baseball.

The Ricketts family, which bought the Cubs from the Chicago Tribune in 2009, say they want to change that losing record and need to revamp Wrigley to generate more revenue to invest in the team.

Attendance at the park, which holds 41,100, has fallen to 12th place from 6th place among all Major League clubs over the last 10 years, according to league data. Crowds at home games this year have averaged 33,000, down from an average of 37,000 in 2003.

With the alderman for the densely populated neighborhood surrounding the park agreeing to support the proposal after months of negotiations, the full council is expected to approve it on Wednesday.

Recent Headlines

in Sports

This week’s top sports shots

little

A look at the biggest stories and best photography in sports this week.

in Sports

This weekend’s sports schedule

yankees

A complete look at this weekend's sports schedule.

in Sports

Tony Stewart returns to NASCAR racing after fatal accident

Tony Stewart smiles as he speaks with his crew before the start of the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 race at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, February 27, 2012.

Tony Stewart will return to racing this weekend at the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time since he struck and killed a young racer at a dirt track earlier this month.

in Sports

Mismatch fears over Paul McGinley dispelled

Europe's Paul McGinley of Ireland watches his shot on the third hole during the second day of foursomes competition against Asia at the Royal Trophy golf tournament in Chonburi province, near Bangkok, January 10, 2009.

Four-times European Tour winner Paul McGinley won the Ryder Cup in 2002 but Phillip Price says next month's matches at Gleneagles could end up defining his career.

in Sports

Dream run over for Catherine Bellis as big guns advance

Aug 28, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Catherine Bellis (USA) hits to Zarina Diyas (KAZ) on day four of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic were forced to take a backseat to 15-year-old Catherine Bellis, who hogged the Flushing Meadows limelight once again.