It's been a while since the last construction update. There are a couple of reasons for that; first, the performance of the Cubs this year has taken precedence over just about everything, and second, there really hasn't been all that much happening. All the work being done now is on the plaza area. The plaza itself is taking shape, as is the new west entrance (photos 5 and 6). The plaza might be open by later this season. The west entrance and the plaza building itself won't be ready until 2017.
Photos 7, 8, 9 and 10 show various views of the plaza building; photos 11, 12 and 13 are views into the interior of the first floor of the building. Photo 14 shows you the progress on the groundskeeper's cottage, now nicely tuckpointed and restored to its original brick look with decades' worth of paint stripped off.
Photo 15 is of work that's being done at the "bleacher bar" which is just inside the main entrance to the bleachers. There was quite a bit of sawing noise happening when I was there Thursday morning, and quite a large work crew -- I saw at least eight or nine workers.
The first two photos in this set are along Addison Street, where a mixed residential/retail project not connected with the Cubs will begin demolition next week. The second photo shows a car repair shop (left) and SportsWorld (right) -- those two buildings will remain, with the rest of the project built around them. For more on what this will look like when it's done, click here.
Photos 3 and 4 are of the area on Clark Street across from the ballpark, where McDonald's used to stand. The Cubs say that construction of the hotel planned for this property will start sometime soon. Here's part of an email sent to neighborhood residents on this project:
The development, which is a partnership with Starwood, will include 175 rooms, retail and food and beverage options for visitors and the community to enjoy year-round. The hotel is scheduled to open in 2018.Initial work at the northwest corner of Clark and Addison streets will include excavation and structural foundation work. Neighbors should also expect to see an increase in equipment mobilization near the construction site. Crews will adhere to City of Chicago noise limitations between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.Covered pedestrian walkways, jersey barriers and traffic signage are scheduled to be installed this week to minimize the impact to pedestrian and vehicular traffic around the construction site.
That email was sent Sunday. It says construction is to start "this week," but I saw no evidence of anything happening to that area when I was there around 10 a.m. Thursday.
Finally, there was a community meeting held Tuesday on the Cubs' plans for the plaza, which this DNAInfo article said was basically a "rehash" of the Cubs' proposals and Ald. Tom Tunney's counterproposals:
Team officials insisted the plaza would not be in use 365 days per year, but offered no specifics on how often they'd like to use it for concerts, corporate events, movie nights and farmers markets."I don't have a specific number, but it's less than 365. We know in the winter months, there's not going to be a whole lot of activity," said Mike Lufrano, vice president of community affairs for the Cubs.The Cubs did present a plan of operations for the triangle plaza, which should be finished in the fall — perhaps in time for a post-season run.The plan of operation would prohibit aggressive loitering and discourage people from hanging out on the plaza when there aren't scheduled activities. The Cubs promised to clean the plaza daily and after events and to install cameras that will monitor the area.
The article says that Tunney's proposed ordinance, which would, among other things, limit the plaza to ticketholders during events, might get a public hearing "within four to six weeks." So, there's not likely to be a resolution to this dispute for some time.
We'll have further construction updates here over the summer, but they are likely to be less frequent than in the offseason for the reasons I mentioned above. If there's any news about the plaza, of course, that will be covered as it happens.