WELL THAT’S NEW…

A VIP AREA, SHIFTED DUGOUTS AND NEW SEATS FIG­URE INTO WRIGLEY’S LAT­EST CHANGES

Red Eye Chicago - - Sports - By Paul Skrbina

Acon­crete mixer in right field churned as day­light leaned into dusk at Wrigley Field. Nearby, a back­hoe rested at the ready. The lights were on at the al­most-103-yearold ball­park, and the only peo­ple at the home of the Cubs were con­struc­tion crews re­spon­si­ble for the on­go­ing facelift at 1060 W. Ad­di­son St.

A man in a bright yel­low vest car­ried a lunch bucket and puffed on a freshly lit cig­a­rette as he filed out of the park and onto Wave­land Av­enue af­ter an­other shift. “Lots of work to be done,” he said.

And so with the re­build of the team on the field com­plete, the first World Se­ries ti­tle since 1908 barely two months old, the re­build of the his­toric sta­dium and the im­me­di­ate ar­eas around it con­tin­ues.

The 1060 Project, in Year 3 of a five-year, $750 mil­lion process, is in the de­struc­tion phase. Seats be­hind home plate have been re­moved in fa­vor of newer, and in some cases more ex­pen­sive, ones.

A 7,200-square-foot un­der­ground “VIP ex­pe­ri­ence” dubbed the Amer­i­can Air­lines 1914 Club is be­ing con­structed and will be un­der the seats be­tween the dugouts be­hind home plate. That por­tion of the project is sched­uled to be fin­ished at the start of the 2018 sea­son.

In the mean­time, the dugouts will be moved far­ther to­ward the foul poles to ac­com­mo­date the fa­cil­ity, which will push the bullpens, for­merly down each foul line, un­der the bleach­ers in right and left field.

New seats will be added where the bullpens were, and there will be more restora­tion done on the park’s Ad­di­son Street fa­cade. Rod­ney Fox said he’s lived in the neigh­bor­hood for more than 30 years and he’s sold peanuts and pro­grams out­side the park for the past four or five.

“It’s the 2000s era, I guess,” he said, point­ing to the new of­fice build­ing be­ing built on the plot of land next to the park on Wave­land, where he used to have his car washed. “I was here when they were the worst team in the league. And I was here back in the ’80s when they lost [in the play­offs in 1984]; Leon Durham let the ball go through his legs.” Stand­ing in the shadow of the huge videoboard that was in­stalled in 2015 in left field, Fox rem­i­nisced about what used to be Wrig- leyville. But he said he’s come to ac­cept that a ho­tel will sit where a McDon­ald’s once was. And that the old 7-Eleven on Sh­effield will soon be lux­ury apart­ments and retail space.

“It re­minds me of them win­ning [the World Se­ries],” Fox said. “It also re­minds me of the past, from [Jack] Brick­house to Harry Caray.”

The sound of gen­er­a­tors buzzed through the brisk air as Fox made his way to­ward home.

Other passers-by stopped to sneak a peek at what could be seen from the mostly cloaked ball­park, a com­mon oc­cur­rence dur­ing the past few months.

Many oth­ers pose for pho­tos with the Wrigley mar­quee show­ing “World Se­ries cham­pi­ons” in the back­ground.

“There’s one guy, I see him ev­ery day I work,” said a se­cu­rity guard man­ning one of the sta­dium’s en­trances. “I see a lot of the same peo­ple.”

And those peo­ple are see­ing a lot of dif­fer­ent around Wrigleyville.

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