(MCT) — Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts took a major step Thursday toward winning city approval for his $500 million plan to renovate Wrigley Field and transform the surrounding area in the process.
The Chicago Plan Commission unanimously endorsed the proposal, sending it to the City Council, which is expected to give the final thumbs-up, especially after local Ald. Thomas Tunney, 44th, told commissioners he backs the plan.
Although he continued to discuss with the Cubs and Mayor Rahm Emanuel his opposition to a pedestrian bridge the Cubs want to put up over Clark Street, he said other concerns have been addressed.
“Through months of negotiations and discussions, we now have arrived at the point where I have no objections to this project,” Tunney declared at the end of a three-hour hearing.
Ricketts’ plan calls for spending $300 million to renovate the 99-year-old stadium, an effort to be funded by more than doubling the amount of ballpark signage to about 51,000 square feet, including a large video board in left field and a script sign in right.
The plan also calls for building a seven-story, 175-room hotel on Clark Street and a six-story office-retail building and plaza adjacent to Wrigley on Clark. The hotel and office building would be linked by the pedestrian bridge over Clark, and some 35,000 square feet of advertising would go up at the hotel, office building, plaza and other new structures.
With a good portion of the advertising to be lit up, critics have described the anticipated result as the “Times Square effect.” But Ricketts has maintained the advertising is critical to being able to fund his overall plan without a city subsidy.
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