This has to be one of the weirdest times of day to announce a major accord between the Chicago Cubs and the city of Chicago.
Very late Sunday night -- and without a press release from the team -- the Cubs and the city revealed they had struck a deal for the renovation of Wrigley Field. You've probably heard most of these things, because they have been endlessly debated over the last several months, but here are the highlights that make the framework of the agreement:
- A 5,000-square-foot video board in left field, probably located where the Toyota sign is now. The left-field outer wall will be extended up to 10 feet north from where it is now to help minimize any blockage of Waveland rooftops.
- An 800-square-foot "see-through" sign in right field.
- 40 night games, up from the current limit of 30, with up to six other possible night dates depending on TV network requirements, and six 3:05 p.m. starts on Fridays, with four dates allowed for concerts.
- Sheffield Avenue closed for street fairs on home weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day (if this were in effect in 2013, that would be eight weekends).
- An office complex with meeting space will be built on the north end of the triangle property adjacent to Wrigley on the west side, with a new entrance to the park also built on that side. That property will also include retail stores and open plaza space where local events could take place.
- A "ribbon board" could be built on the upper-deck facade. (This is something that hasn't been discussed much, but nearly every other new stadium has one, and it would seem a no-brainer to have something like this.)
- A pedestrian bridge will be built over Clark Street from the planned hotel at the corner of Clark & Addison, into Wrigley. The Cubs might have to compensate the city for "air rights" over Clark Street.
- 30 more security personnel will be hired, paid for by the Cubs, and the Cubs will supply 1,000 remote parking spaces, with shuttle bus service to the remote lot being free (instead of the current $6 charge).
- Beer sales would be extended until 10:30 p.m. on night games (personally, I think this is a really bad idea).
- The Captain Morgan Club on Addison would be expanded to two stories to accomodate a new retail merchandise store and expanded visitor's clubhouse.
Those are the primary features of this agreement; there are a couple of things in there that haven't been discussed before, but those are the main things that people will be talking about during the day today. The deal brings $500 million of development to the city -- $300 million in Wrigley renovations and the $200 million hotel proposed across the street, and is supposed to create about 2,000 construction jobs as well as permanent jobs after the construction is completed.
I'll have more analysis, history and thoughts about this deal later Monday -- thanks, Cubs, for giving us some good newsy material on an off day! -- but you can get started with this.