Thursday morning, a groundbreaking ceremony and news conference was held across the street from Wrigley Field for the Addison & Clark project, a development that will include rental apartments, retail and, as announced Thursday, a 10-screen movie theater, the first multi-screen theater in Lakeview.
The theater is perhaps the most interesting part of this development, which is a private development not connected with the Cubs or the Ricketts family. It's going to be run by Cinemex, the seventh-largest movie theater chain in the world. They're expecting to have "plush, reclining seats" and a "chef-driven menu" in the dine-in movie theater.
The complex will have over 400 public parking spaces, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was at the news conference, specifically noted this development is supposed to be "transit-driven," given its location less than a block from the Addison stop on the CTA Red Line. It'll be interesting to see how the movie lineup does on game days -- you'd almost have to live within walking distance (or take the L) to see movies while 40,000 fans are inside Wrigley Field.
In addition to the mayor, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (5th District) and state legislators Sara Feigenholtz and John Cullerton attended the news conference. Mike Lufrano, Cubs Executive Vice President, Community and Government affairs, was also recognized. The mayor said, "This development will create hundreds of jobs and generate an economic impact that will touch not just Lakeview -- but create economic opportunities in neighborhoods throughout the city. Breaking ground on Addison & Clark means breaking ground on a stronger future for the city of Chicago."
600 jobs are expected to be created, 200 construction jobs and 400 permanent jobs in the retail/movie theater portion of the development, which will also house 148 apartments.
After the groundbreaking (the ceremonial dirt shoveling noted in photos 6 and 7), I had a walk around the ballpark to see what was going on regarding the plaza construction and other things at Wrigley.
The team has added a new standalone Cubs Store (photo 12). This is located at the south end of what will be the plaza, right next to the ticket windows on Clark Street.
You can get an idea of how close the Addison & Clark project is to the ballpark in photo 5. Photo 11 shows Sports World and Luis Auto Repair. Those businesses and buildings (both owned by the same person, from what I understand) wouldn't sell to the developers, so the new Addison & Clark project will be built around these two buildings.
They've begun to put brick on the outside of the plaza building on the first floor (photos 17 and 19).
Photos 9 and 10 show the beginnings of progress on the Ricketts family project, the hotel that's going up on the former McDonald's lot on Clark Street west of Wrigley. Not much there except a couple of construction cranes.
One interesting note about the demolition of the buildings on the Addison & Clark site is how old some of them are. It's not totally clear in this photo dated 1914, but I believe the building at the right of photo 3 in this gallery is the same building shown on the south side of Addison in that photo -- so a building more than 100 years old soon will be no more, and the view people will have of Wrigley when they first get off the train at Addison will be quite different.
While the team seems to have made significant progress on the plaza building, the plaza itself looks about the same as the last time I looked, around the All-Star break. It's still uncertain whether the plaza will be ready for this year's postseason.
I'll have more updates on ballpark and Wrigleyville construction soon.