My brief article on Wrigley construction, as it appears on The Chicago Architecture Blog, with a few extra photos:
When I wandered around Wrigley Field (1060 West Addison Street) last fall, just after our beloved bleachers were reduced to scrap, I marveled at the task at hand, impressed such destruction could be rebuilt in time for Opening Day 2015. Well, send me to Triple AAA and call me naïve. Because sure enough, as you no doubt are aware by now, nary a fan shall catch a home run ball within the Friendly Confines until at least May.
In mid-January, someone at Lovable Losers HQ (Hey, I’m a Cub fan, and therefore allowed to mock my own fandom. Use that term loosely though, and I will fight you) looked out the window and realized the work wasn’t going to be done in time. And even then, the Cubs’ revised projected completion schedule turned out to be too optimistic.
Once thought doable in its entirety by the end of May, only the left-field portion of the stands will be ready for butts in seats by then, with right field completion coming some time in June. Which means someone in accounting is fretting over lost beer sales for close to half the season.
Keep in mind, this isn’t about just the bleachers. The entire $375-million project will take roughly the next 4 years to complete. Is all this worth the effort? I suppose that’s up to each of us individually.
As a Cub fan, I love it. I’ve been to new ballparks in Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, and they’re glorious places to watch baseball. But I’ll always love Wrigley, too. And anything that improves its appearance and ambiance is fine by me. And, as Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said himself, if you’re only going to fix up the old girl once every 100 years, you might as well take the time to do it right.
To get an idea of how much work remains, I took a recent stroll around the outfield perimeter. It may be, it could be, it is! loud, dusty, and very, very busy. No wonder the city struck out the Cubs’ request to labor 24/7. No neighborhood wants that going on at all hours.