News

Chicago council to approve $500 million Wrigley Field upgrades

Chicago council to approve $500 million Wrigley Field upgrades

An general view of Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, April 15, 2013. Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts announced a $500 million development plan to renovate the 99-year-old ballpark. Photo: Reuters/Jim Young

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Chicago City Council is expected to approve on Wednesday a $500 million proposed renovation of Wrigley Field, the historic home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

The 99-year-old ballpark, famous for its ivy-covered outfield walls and hand-operated scoreboard, is a key tourist attraction and has been declared a city landmark, so major plans like a jumbo video message board in left field and a neighboring hotel need approval.

The privately financed proposal includes a $300 million renovation of the park itself and $200 million for improvements outside the park, including the hotel.

The plans have already been approved by the city’s landmarks and plan commissions, and the city council’s zoning committee approved the proposal on Tuesday evening.

The Cubs started playing at Wrigley in 1916 and have not won a World Series since 1908, the longest championship drought in Major League Baseball.

The Ricketts family, which bought the Cubs from the Chicago Tribune in 2009, say they want to change that losing record and need to revamp Wrigley to generate more revenue to invest in the team.

Attendance at the park, which holds 41,100, has fallen to 12th place from 6th place among all Major League clubs over the last 10 years, according to league data. Crowds at home games this year have averaged 33,000, down from an average of 37,000 in 2003.

With the alderman for the densely populated neighborhood surrounding the park agreeing to support the proposal after months of negotiations, the full council is expected to approve it on Wednesday.

Recent Headlines

in National

Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2014, file photo, Amanda Knox prepares to leave the set following a television interview in New York. Knox is engaged to Colin Sutherland, a musician who recently moved to Seattle from New York, a person close to the Knox family confirmed for The Associated Press. Knox’s murder conviction in the 2007 stabbing of her roommate has been reinstated by an Italian court, but the former college exchange student maintains her innocence and vows she won’t willingly go back to Italy. Both Knox and Sutherland are 27. No wedding date had been set.

Italy's highest court has overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case.

in National

Time for Iran to make tough decisions in nuclear talks

In this March 26, 2015, photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, leaves a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials at a hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq’s deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement.

Six world powers and Iran move closer to a deal, but there are still major disagreements.

in National

Making headlines this week

AP193442892434_0

A look at some of the week's biggest headlines and the stories you may have missed.

in Entertainment, National

Celebrities protest new Indiana law

George Takei poses for a portrait at Quaker Good Energy Lodge with GenArt and the Collective , during the Sundance Film Festival, on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 in Park City, Utah.

Celebrities call for an Indiana boycott after the passing of a controversial law that could lead to discrimination against gay couples.

in National

Senate’s Harry Reid will not seek re-election

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. adjusts his glasses as he speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 24, 2015, following a policy luncheon. Reid is wearing special glasses as part of his recovery from injuries suffered in an exercise accident in January.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says that it would be "inappropriate" for him to seek re-election.