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Ricketts: Cubs Will Pay For Renovations If City Relaxes Wrigley Restrictions

By Amy Cavanaugh in News on Jan 20, 2013 4:00PM

Photo by Enjoy Illinois
At the Cubs Convention yesterday, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said that the team will pay for a $300 million, five-year renovation if the city will relax the restrictions surrounding Wrigley Field.

“The fact is that when you look at all of the limitations that we have, whether that’s signage in the outfield, which we are not allowed to do, or what kind of stuff we do in the park or around the park, I think we’d just like a little more flexibility to have some options on that stuff,” Ricketts said after a question-and-answers session with fans at the Cubs Convention.

“We have an opportunity cost there that’s tremendous. Just give us some relief on some of these restrictions, and we’ll take care of (renovating) Wrigley Field.”

The renovations, which would happen during the off-seasons, would include more bathrooms and concessions, a larger home clubhouse, batting cages, and larger concourses. Wrigley would also get a new roof and new seats.

The restrictions Ricketts is talking about currently limit signs, night games, concerts, and street festivals on Sheffield Avenue during games. reports that the plan would create 2,100 jobs. Also, since Wrigley is under landmark protection, the proposed upgrades would need to be approved by the city. Plans for renovation have changed over the years, and that includes whether renovations should be publicly funded by an amusement tax on Cubs tickets.

The Tribune reports:

Ricketts said the team has been in discussions with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and feels they’re close to an agreement after talks stalled last year. Emanuel reportedly wouldn’t return Ricketts’ calls after a New York Times report that a PAC run by family patriarch Joe Ricketts considered funding an inflammatory ad campaign against President Obama.

“I hope (we’re close),” Tom Ricketts said. “I think everyone has an incentive. We lost a year this year. We want to get the project rolling. It’s a big economic development for the city. It’s a lot of jobs. It’s something everyone should have incentive to want to get done.”