Update on Wrigley Field Renovations and The Park Additions for 2018

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As expected, the 33rd edition of the annual Cubs Convention was a sell out, drawing over 10,000 attendees. Once again, the Wrigley Field renovations were a hot discussion topic, as each year new information is disseminated by Cubs President Crane Kenney at the annual fan gathering during the “Business Operations Update.”

Traditionally, this is the most informational and news-worthy session of the weekend, but it’s definitely not one that kids would be very interested in. Perhaps that’s why the Kids Only Press Conference takes place at the exact same time.

wrigley field bleachers

Kenney, well known for his corporate tone, which typically only appeals to a niche audience (that Tronc video which went viral last year comes to mind), quickly engaged the crowd by making a a funny joke about a Cubs fan who said he used his engagement ring fund to go to game seven of the World Series.

“I hope it works out for you, but not every story has a happy ending,” was Kenney’s message to the fan. 

A big part of the 1060 Project, has been the addition of premium lounges that cater to the upper middle class and upper class demographics. The 1914 Lounge will be ready and open by opening day, with the W Club and the Barrel Room coming in 2019.

wrigley-field-100

For fans coming to Wrigley Field this season, Kenney promised more concourse space, two new elevators by opening day and eight new concession stands by July. You’ll also see additional camera wells in the ballpark, in order to provide new angles for the broadcast. 

Kenney also claims that cellular phone reception will be improved this season. “We’ve harmonized our cell services,” he said, before adding that the audio system and wifi augmentations won’t come until phase five of the Wrigley Field project. 

For the players, dugouts will be expanded 20 feet further down the lines, as construction crews have excavated 22 feet below the bottom of the facility which dates back to 1914.

Chairman Tom Ricketts might revisit the idea of one day building a Cubs Museum, but right now they are constrained by space limitations.

 

As usual, the topic of parking once again came up (it’s a tradition unlike any other), with Kenney offering the following joke:

“That was covered and everyone was happy for the answer. We’ll get you on the way out.” 

Again, there’s just a lack of real estate there, and little that can be done to change that now. You can’t discuss the Wrigley renovations project without also going into detail on The Park, a development which Kenney described as Lakeview’s “town square.”

The Park certainly reminds any South Park viewer of SoDoSopa, the long running animated series’ take on gentrification. The promo video for The Park shown at Cubs Con was strikingly similar to SoDoSopa’s “commercial.”

The Zachary Hotel, seven stories and 175 rooms, will be open in April. It is named after Zachary Taylor Davis, architect of Wrigley Field. The Wrigley Field intersection McDonald’s will be back in 2018, up and running by the time they grace us with Shamrock Shakes.

Although the food related highlight of this Cubs Convention session was no doubt the man who was zealously lobbying for the cause of more nacho availability at Wrigley Field. 

The Park is year round accessible (movie nights, run in conjunction with the Music Box Theatre have been a resounding success), except on home game days, when you must have a ticket.

cubs convention

Kenney said the ward alderman, Tom Tunney, is the obstruction keeping people out. Kenney said the Cubs want to let people into The Park during home games, and he described the relationship with Tunney as awkward.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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