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Wrigley Done Right: The Ultimate Rooftop Experience - Click for tickets

Wrigley Field Landmark Articles

Cubs expanding bleachers at Wrigley

Copyright 2001 Associated Press
All Rights Reserved
The Associated Press

These materials may not be republished without the express written consent of The Associated Press

June 18, 2001, Monday, BC cycle

SECTION: Sports News

LENGTH: 683 words

HEADLINE: Cubs expanding bleachers at Wrigley



No, there won't be a Jumbotron looming over center field. And yes, the ivy is staying put.

The Chicago Cubs plan to renovate the outfield bleacher section and add seats behind home plate, none of which will make the historic park look much different than it has since it opened in 1914.

"Our goal was to design a project ... that at the end of the day, people look at it say, 'It looks like it always was there, that it fits in Wrigley Field,"' Mark McGuire, the Cubs executive vice president of business operations, said Monday.

"We have no intention of playing with the icon scoreboard, ivy, marquee - the things we all could agree are really the core elements of Wrigley Field."

The renovations will add 2,300 seats to Wrigley, which currently has a capacity of 39,059, and cost $11 million. The changes will be completed by the start of next season, assuming approval by the city of Chicago approves the plans.

Mayor Richard M. Daley was in Europe on Monday, but Alderman Bernard Hansen said he doesn't anticipate any problems.

"On a scale of A through D, I'll give them an A-minus," said Hansen, whose district includes Wrigley.

The plans call for the addition of 2,100 seats in the outfield, most of which would be located near the foul poles. The current three rows of seats would be replaced with 10 to 12 rows that would be the same height as the rest of the bleachers.

The second tier of bleachers, directly underneath the scoreboard, would be left untouched.

"The scoreboard will not be affected in any way," McGuire said.

The street entrance to the bleachers would be expanded, and more bathrooms and two new concession stands would be built. Two balconies would be built overlooking the corner of Waveland and Sheffield avenues, allowing for the existing concourse to run around the entire outfield.

The Cubs also want to build a concession area beneath the "batter's eye," currently filled with juniper bushes. Some of the bushes would be taken out and replaced with tinted glass so fans could get refreshments but still watch the game.

"Restaurant is a bit of an overstatement. It will have food," McGuire said. "What we wanted was something that feels like the bleachers."

Plans also call for adding three rows of seating in the semicircle behind home plate, an addition of 200 new seats. A private lounge and restrooms also will be built beneath the existing club seats.

The Cubs also want 30 night games a year, up from the 18 allowed under their current agreement with the city that expires after next season. The additional games would give the team more flexibility in scheduling, particularly in the spring and fall, when kids are still in school and daytime crowds are small.

"We are committed to staying in Wrigley Field, but we feel we have to do some things to compete and stay in Wrigley Field," McGuire said.

That could include increased signage in the ballpark, though McGuire said the ivy-covered outfield walls and the brick wall behind home plate won't be touched.

Selling naming rights to the ballpark is out of the question, too.

"None of us has the courage to pursue that," McGuire said. "Wrigley Field is a very, very special place, and it's known as Wrigley Field. To tamper with that is just too much to take on."

The Cubs also unveiled a long-term proposal for a multipurpose building on land just west of the ballpark. It would house a parking garage, a restaurant that would be open year round and a Hall of Fame, among other things.

But the building is still in the conceptual stages, McGuire said.

The Cubs plan to hold neighborhood meetings to explain their proposals to residents. While some might object to the additional night games, the renovations shouldn't be of great concern.

The new bleacher seats will be 35 feet high, which means they won't obstruct the views of the rooftop decks across the street.

"The calls I've been getting have been very much in favor of it," Hansen said. "There will always be the naysayers ... but they really don't speak for the majority of the community."

LOAD-DATE: June 19, 2001

Wrigley Field close to becoming landmark

Copyright 2002 Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

The Associated Press State & Local Wire

These materials may not be republished without the express written consent of The Associated Press

November 22, 2002, Friday, BC cycle

SECTION: Sports News

LENGTH: 393 words

HEADLINE: Wrigley Field close to becoming landmark

BYLINE: By GEOFFREY WHITE, Associated Press Writer


The Cubs are closing in on a deal that would allow them to expand Wrigley Field and would make the famous ballpark a landmark.

"Agreeing to a landmarking of any kind, in our view, is a tremendous concession," Cubs president Andy MacPhail said Friday, noting that no other major league park has such a designation.

Permission to expand the ballpark has been debated for nearly two years as the team, residents and City Hall argued over traffic, safety and a city commission's proposal to designate the Friendly Confines a historic landmark.

"I think we're 99.9 percent of the way there," said Alderman Bernard Hansen, whose ward includes Wrigley Field.

MacPhail and Cubs executive vice president Mark McGuire said during a taping of WBBM-AM's "At Issue" program that the plan would protect key architectural features, including the center-field scoreboard, marquee and ivy-covered walls.

In exchange, the Cubs - who don't want landmark protection - would get to renovate and expand the bleachers. The number of new seats is uncertain but would be fewer than 2,000, the Cubs said. The ballpark's capacity currently is 39,059.

Hansen said the landmark process and the bleacher expansion are separate.

Normally, designating a building a landmark means any changes must get special city approval. Hansen said the Wrigley deal would exempt concession stands, washrooms and business offices in the park's lower concourse from such restrictions.

Mayor Richard M. Daley's office did not answer messages seeking comment.

The team also has proposed expanding the number of night games from 18 to 30 each season, arguing that later games are more convenient for fans and easier on players.

Some Wrigleyville neighbors object to expansion and more night games, arguing the moves would worsen problems ranging from traffic tieups to drunken fans.

The Tribune Co., owner of the Cubs, has proposed spending a minimum of $100,000 a year to address those concerns. The team has offered to take more steps, including hiring a full-time community liaison officer.

"I'm becoming an expert on the spirit of compromise," MacPhail said.

Also Friday, the Cubs said they are encouraged by reports that owners of buildings overlooking Wrigley Field might agree to pay licensing fees on tickets they sell to watch the game from those rooftops.

LOAD-DATE: November 23, 2002

Cubs Sue Neighborhood Bars on Rooftop Use

Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

December 18, 2002, Wednesday, Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section D; Page 4; Column 2; Sports Desk

LENGTH: 528 words

Cubs Sue Neighborhood Bars on Rooftop Use



After two years of negotiations over the proposed expansion of Wrigley Field, talks among the Chicago Cubs, city officials and the owners of bars that sell rooftop seats to home games have fallen apart, with the team filing a lawsuit claiming the rooftop businesses are stealing its product.

Though the lawsuit alleges copyright infringement and misappropriation of Cubs property, the core of the dispute is how many rooftop seats would be blocked by new bleachers at Wrigley, and how much the rooftop owners should pay the Tribune Company, which owns the Cubs. Filed on Monday, the suit follows a decision Friday by the city's planning commissioner clearing the way for the stadium to officially become a landmark, and the twin developments are likely to delay the $11 million expansion until 2005.

"They are selling tickets to our product, they are selling admission to our games, when they don't bear any of the costs," Andy MacPhail, the team president, said. "It's evolved from Weber grills and lawn chairs to a multimultimillion-dollar process."

Ken Jakubowski, a consultant who represents the 13 businesses licensed to sell rooftop seats, all named defendants in the suit, questioned MacPhail's leadership by pointing out that the Cubs have not had consecutive winning seasons in 30 years.

As long as there has been a Wrigley Field, fans have watched games from the neighborhood's rooftops. The Chicago Historical Society has photographs of the phenomenon dating to 1914. But in 1998, the city formalized the tradition by requiring $1,000 licenses for the rooftops and certain safety measures. Bar owners upgraded their facilities, and their admission prices, which the lawsuit pegs at as much as $150 a game, though the owners say it is $100.

The lawsuit accuses the bar owners of "posing as small-time friends of the common fan," while they are actually "unlawful free riders on the Cubs' investment." Besides selling unauthorized tickets to the games, the lawsuit alleges, the rooftops violate copyright by tapping into the team's broadcast of instant replays and game commentary, and by using the Cubs and Wrigley logos.

The conflict erupted when the Cubs announced plans to add 2,600 seats to Wrigley's 38,500, effectively putting the rooftops out of business by blocking the view. City officials tried to engineer an overall agreement that would resolve not only the rooftop issue, but also the question of landmark status and other neighborhood concerns like parking.

Some believe that Mayor Richard M. Daley has made the Wrigley expansion more difficult to get back at the Tribune Company for opposing, through editorials in The Chicago Tribune, an expensive renovation of Soldier Field, home of the N.F.L.'s Bears.

Over 14 negotiating sessions with the rooftop owners since June, the Cubs have lowered their expansion plans to between 1,600 and 1,900 seats, obstructing the view from 4 of the 13 rooftops. But the Cubs balked at the rooftop owners' latest proposal to pay $13 a head in the summertime and $6 a head in April, May and September, and asked instead for a percentage of the gross receipts.


LOAD-DATE: December 18, 2002

Names in the Game

Copyright 2003 Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

The Associated Press

These materials may not be republished without the express written consent of The Associated Press

March 1, 2003, Saturday, BC cycle

SECTION: Sports News

LENGTH: 873 words

HEADLINE: Names in the Game

BYLINE: By The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) - The Cubs are opposed to giving Wrigley Field landmark designation.

The Chicago Department of Planning and Development laid out its plan to give Wrigley, the second-oldest major league ballpark behind Boston's Fenway Park, the designation. A public meeting is set for March 12, when a committee of the city's Landmarks Commission will discuss the designation.

Cubs CEO Andy MacPhail reiterated his opposition.

"No other ballpark is landmarked nor has any other municipality used landmarking as an effective means of preserving a ballpark," MacPhail said in a statement received Friday. "The reason for that is simple. Ballparks that don't evolve to meet their customers needs wither away only to be eventually torn down."

MacPhail said the proposed landmarking would subject needed changes at the ballpark to a political process and would deny the team the flexibility it needed to carry those out.

Discussions to landmark the ballpark began in October 2000.

"We felt it was important back in 2000 to try and landmark the building so it won't be torn down," department spokesman Pete Scales said Friday.


retrieved 2-6-2004

Chicago council to vote on issue

Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Wrigley Field is closer to landmark status after a Chicago City Council committee unanimously approved a plan that would declare the ballpark a landmark but still allow some changes.

The stadium opened in April 1914.

The Committee on Historical Landmarks and Preservation recommended Tuesday that the council approve the ordinance, but with provisions that would allow the Chicago Cubs to build about 200 new box seats and make other possible alterations.

The council is expected to take up the issue on Feb. 11.

Cubs spokeswoman Sharon Pannozzo said the team would not comment.

Alderman Thomas Tunney, whose ward includes Wrigley, said the team doesn't plan to block the proposal.

The Cubs are not wholeheartedly in support of the ordinance, but "they are not opposing it," Tunney said.

Preservation groups said they were happy with the committee's compromise recommendation.

"We have found that what the Cubs were proposing in terms of expansion was reasonable and did not necessarily affect the historic fabric and structure" of the ballpark, said David Bahlman, president of the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois.

The Cubs and the city have been negotiating for nearly three years on the landmark designation.

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