Perhaps someday we will actually see construction equipment in the area around Clark & Addison Streets in Chicago and renovation begin at Wrigley Field.
The right field wall, which was approved by the City Council in July to be moved 15 feet closer to the street, now may be moved 25 feet closer to the street, reducing Sheffield Avenue from 33 feet wide to 23 feet wide. The tweaks to the deal were part of a recent agreement between the team and City Hall under which the Cubs would drop a proposed pedestrian bridge over Clark Street; alter details for its planned hotel; and reduce the total number of potential night games it could host from 46 to 43. As a result, the team would have more flexibility in scheduling those games and would be able to move the exterior walls further into the public way.
That does seem to be quite a bit farther than the original plan; the article says Sheffield would still be a two-way street, but without parking. Naturally, one of our favorite people weighs in:
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) spoke today in favor of the exterior wall expansion, calling it a "handsome addition" to the project, though he said discussions are ongoing with the team about replacing lost parking spots on the street.
This time, I'm going to give Tunney a little credit. A narrower street and less parking does affect area residents; there has been no parking allowed on Sheffield (and Waveland) between four hours before and one hour after games for at least the last 15 years or thereabouts, so having these streets with no parking during games won't really change anything. It's on non-game days that residents will have fewer parking spaces; I'd estimate there are about 25 such spaces on Sheffield, 15-20 on Waveland.
Here's another clue about what's going on, the aftermath of the Cubs putting up a mock advertising sign a week ago over Sheffield:
The Landmarks Commission also approved a revision to the right field patio to extend 16 feet over Sheffield Avenue, double what was previously allowed. The Cubs say that would help minimize the 650-square-foot right field advertising sign's impact on rooftop views and last week erected a mock-up of the sign roughly where it would likely be positioned. The team has yet to apply for a permit to begin work any of the approved major renovation projects in part because of potential legal issues with its rooftop partners, but continues to say that it will start even if talks between the two sides hit a stalemate.
The farther back the sign is, the more the couple of rooftops who might be affected by this sign will have their views unaffected, or perhaps more correctly, less affected.
The last paragraph there seems to indicate that things will eventually start, but with winter coming on and no permits yet issued, it's not likely to begin until next offseason.
As always, we await further developments.