After failing to win support for taxpayer-funded improvements to Wrigley Field, home to baseball's Chicago Cubs, franchise owners have agreed to bankroll $300 million in improvements to the landmark structure in exchange for concessions involving signage and additional night games.
Should the city agree to those terms, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts say's he'll sweeten the deal by constructing a hotel on an adjacent parcel in Wrigleyville, the north side home of the Cubs. Ricketts indicated that management has reached an agreement with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, whose brands include Westin and Sheraton.
Plans for the 99-year-old ballpark include larger concourses, expanded suites, addition restaurant, concessions and bathroom space, in addition to expanded clubhouses, batting cages and training facilities. Plans also call for restoration of Wrigley's facade, replacement of its wood roof and new seating.
Ricketts indicated renovations would occur over a five-year period, beginning as early as this fall, once the 2013 baseball season concludes.
However, he indicated the franchise would require enhanced revenue streams to fund the project. In addition to easing signage restrictions, owners have requested that additional night games be scheduled at Wrigley, which is primarily surrounded by residences.
In 2012, Cubs ownership attempted to negotiate a deal that would have employed state bonds to fund renovations, then repaid the funds with a city amusement tax on ticket buyers. However, negotiations with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel stalled after news emerged that a member of the Ricketts family had considered contributing funds to an ad campaign critical of President Barack Obama.