Mother Nature can put a wrinkle in even the best-laid plans. Since the Cubs broke ground on the 1060 Project shortly after the 2014 season ended, weather has been a thorn in the organization's side.Even with the cold temperatures and frequent snowfall that has cost the construction team precious time,
Mother Nature can put a wrinkle in even the best-laid plans. Since the Cubs broke ground on the 1060 Project shortly after the 2014 season ended, weather has been a thorn in the organization's side.
Even with the cold temperatures and frequent snowfall that has cost the construction team precious time, the Cubs are proud to announce two of the three major initiatives of Phase One of the expansive Wrigley Field restoration project remain on schedule.
On Monday, March 2, the Cubs invited local media outlets to the Friendly Confines for a hardhat tour of the work site. President of Business Operations Crane Kenney and Vice President of Ballpark Operations Carl Rice led the tour and showed off the progress being made on the bleachers, the third-base concourse and the triangle property directly west of the ballpark. Watch highlights from the 1060 Project Phase One tour.
Update on Budweiser Bleachers
Though the initial plan was to have all the left- and right-field bleacher work completed by Opening Night, Kenney announced during the January Cubs Convention there would be a slight delay due to the unforgiving weather.
"We were hopeful for a warm winter," Kenney said. "We did not get that. We had record cold in November and February."
The left-field bleachers are scheduled to be ready for fans starting May 11, and the right-field bleachers are scheduled to be ready by early June. Water main issues and slight adjustments to the location of signage were other causes for the delay.
Kenney and Rice reiterated there is a difference between occupancy of the bleachers and completion.
"There will still be work going on in the bleachers even after we open," Kenney said. "Restrooms will be open, and there will be concessions services, but you'll obviously still see, with right field not completed, a lot of working going on there."
Though there will be no seating in the left-field bleachers on Opening Night, the state-of-the-art video board is scheduled to be ready when the Cubs kick off the season April 5 against the Cardinals. The initial metal work is already in place. The video board in right field will likely be ready around the same time fans are able to occupy the right-field bleachers in June.
Update on Concourse
The first thing fans will notice when they walk through the left-field concourse is more open space. The large, switchback ramps near the Gate K entrance will be replaced with more condensed stairs or walkways. Most of the ramps and bathrooms in Section 130 have been temporarily removed to insert modern support beams, as some beams in that area had been in place since the park was built in 1914.
"To make this project work and really to do it right, and to be able to support the ballpark for the next 100 years, we had to knock out the steel and concrete infrastructure to the ballpark," Rice said.
Though the concourse will not actually be wider, many of the portable concession stands will now be built into the ballpark, which will open up space throughout the concourse.
The Cubs expect some of the restrooms in the concourse to be finished in late May or June. Also of note to male Cubs fans: Many of the new restroom facilities will retain the famous troughs.
While Kenney noted the concourse may be a little dustier than usual due to ongoing work throughout the season, cinderblock walls will shield fans from the construction. This will not only keep fans a safe distance away from the work efforts, but it should also reduce the noise.
One of the big infrastructure overhauls has been to reinforce the support structure of Wrigley Field's upper levels. The Cubs are wrapping up their final support modification to the upper deck later this week and have done work on approximately 30 of the 35 main columns throughout the ballpark.
"It's important because of all the amenities we're going to add to the upper deck for our guests," Rice said. "The work we're doing in the upper deck, we needed to get this support structure right for the future of the ballpark."
Update on Plaza Space
A major overhaul is being done outside the ballpark as well, with plans to rework the space formerly known as the Purple and Red lots.
There are pilings going into the ground to support both the wall of the new clubhouse space and the office building, as well as a two-story basement underneath. The space will be dedicated to retail and entertainment. The majority will be an open plaza, but there will also be a Cubs office building along the north end. Retail will go into the first floor, with Cubs offices above. The lowest level of the basement will serve as the Cubs' modern and spacious new clubhouse. According to the initial plans, the office building won't be fully completed until 2018.
People will start to notice the hole being dug in mid-April, and work will continue through the duration of the season. The clubhouse is a major component of Phase Two of the 1060 Project and is planned to be ready for the team once the 2016 season begins.