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