Deal Reached to Expand Wrigley Field

Sat March 12, 2005 - Midwest Edition

CHICAGO (AP) After four years of negotiations, the Chicago Cubs and the city agreed on a plan to add 1,790 seats to Wrigley Field, the National League’s oldest ballpark.

Officials said construction of the additions is expected to begin after the 2005 season and be completed in time for opening day 2006.

“We have been working really hard and are excited to be able to move forward to show our designs to the community,” Cubs vice president of community affairs Michael Lufrano said.

The plan to expand the bleachers calls for the Cubs to pay the city $3.1 million up front while also contributing about $250,000 toward a park at a local school. The team also will fund a $400,000 traffic signal system at an intersection that borders the northern boundary of Wrigley Field.

The plan goes to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks for its approval. The plan, which calls for the construction of a five-story building that includes a 400-space parking garage, restaurant and team offices, also must go through the city’s Plan Commission and get the approval of the Chicago City Council.

The Cubs initially proposed expansion of Wrigley Field in 2001, suggesting the construction of 2,100 seats. The proposal prompted community opposition, particularly among the owners of rooftop bleachers that overlook the 39,259-seat park, opened in 1914.