By Mike Reilley
360-degree video outside Wrigley Field in early January. (To view on mobile, download the Ricoh Theta S app)
CHICAGO — South Bend Cubs who make it to the majors will see a whole new look to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.
A five-year overhaul of the iconic ballpark is entering its fourth year and has reached its busiest period, just two months after the Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years.
The Cubs’ home opener against the Dodgers is April 10, just more than three months away. But today there’s no grass on the field inside the park, only heavy construction equipment, dirt and building materials.
Seats behind home plate have been removed as crews work on the 1914 Club, a 600-seat bar being built underneath home plate that’s slated to open in early 2018. The bullpens down the left- and right-field lines are being moved under the bleachers, and seating will be added where the old bullpen locations were.
The green chain-link fence along the south side of Wrigley is being replaced with the ornate metal barriers already added to the west side of the ballpark. The visitor’s dugout and clubhouse — considered the worst in Major League Baseball — are being expanded and updated. The Cubs’ clubhouse was updated before last season.
In late 2017 and 2018, work will start on renovations to the suites and press box at Wrigley.
360 photo of residential and retail complex construction. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Retail and residential complex
To the south of the ballpark, across Addison Street, ground is being cleared for a new 30,000 square-foot retail and residential development.
Due to open in 2018 or early 2019, the $140-million complex has attracted several new tenants, including Cinemark Theaters, Shake Shack and Lucky Strike bowling alley. The new complex stretches from the former site of Goose Island brewery on Clark to the former site of the 7/Eleven on the southwest corner of Addison and Sheffield.
The Park at Wrigley Field, a 50,000-square-foot plaza on the west side of the ballpark, along Clark Street, is scheduled to be completed by spring. The plaza will be an office building, where the club will move its business operations in early 2017, as well as a parking garage for staff, coaches and players. Retail and restaurants such as Big Star tacos will anchor the first floor.
The Park also will have a large outdoor TV screen and grassy plaza to hold events. In the winter, the area will be converted into a temporary ice rink, something the Cubs have done in the past when the space was a parking lot.
Hotel Zachary under construction across from Wrigley Field. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Across the street from The Park at Wrigley Field, construction crews have begun building the foundation of Hotel Zachary on the west side of Clark Street. The seven-story, 175-room hotel will cover 238,000 square-feet at 3630 N. Clark St., where McDonald’s was previously located.
Hickory Street Capital — the Ricketts family-owned development company behind the project — announced in September that the site will house several new restaurants, including McDonalds, as well as a Wintrust Bank branch.
Wrigley Field before and now