10 Crazy Things You Don’t Know About the Wrigley Field Expansion Deal

If you want to buy raw chicken, keep on moving, Buddy.

If you want to buy raw chicken, keep on moving, Buddy.


This week the local media went nuts with word that a final deal on the Wrigley Field expansion plan had been approved by the city. That’s almost true. What happened is that the city’s Landmarks Commission voted seven to nothing in favor of the renovation. There’s still lots more paperwork to do before anyone can start moving dirt.

On WTTW television Friday night one of the Chicago Tonight panelists astutely pointed out that most Chicagoans are likely suffering from Wrigley Field burnout. This has been going on for so long that many people have tuned out or forgotten what the expansion is about. Fortunately, the video below (from the Cubs) provides an excellent overview of many of the physical changes the park will undergo, though it completely skips over the sign controversy.

The $575 million Wrigley Field “deal” made headlines across the country. We even saw it on the morning show on KVVU-TV in Las Vegas. But for the most part, the reporting has been superficial, even in Chicago. After all, it’s a big plan with lots of details, and these days TV reporters are lucky if they’re allowed so much as 60 seconds for a local news story.

So we did what the politicians won’t, and the reporters can’t— We read the actual paperwork to see what’s in the fine print. And some of that print is pretty fine.

There were lots of good tidbits lost in the media chatter. For example, did you know that the new agreement specifically prohibits the Cubs from operating a poultry slaughterhouse at Wrigley Field? Those are the kinds of things we want to know! Here are our top ten tidbits.

1 The Cubs are prohibited from opening a poultry slaughterhouse at Wrigley Field. This may prove problematic in late August when Baltimore is in town.

2 The Cubs are prohibited from opening a funeral home at Wrigley Field.

3 For the most part, fireworks are banned at Cubs games. Any other event at Wrigley? Sure, go nuts! Here’s Rahm’s lighter!

4 The Cubs are allowed to stage plays at Wrigley Field. Who else wants to see a lone spotlight on Carlos Villanueva standing on the mound with a skull in his hand doing Hamlet?

5 The Cubs may not open a pawn shop at Wrigley Field

6 The Cubs are allowed to host a farmers’ market, but aren’t allowed to plant any vegetables, themselves. Replacing the ivy with tomato plants would probably just give drunk people more things to throw.

7 The Cubs are not allowed to operate a “day labor employment agency” at Wrigley Field, so all those hopefuls from the Kane County Cougars should stop hanging out along Clark Street.

8 The Cubs will pay the city a little over $100,000 for each new traffic signal on Clark Street

9 When doing legal square footage calculations about the size of Wrigley Field, in many cases the seats and bleachers don’t exist.

10  The Wrigley Hotel will have a green roof. Perhaps the Cubs can keep a goat up there… for good luck!

Here’s a longer list of less-interesting tidbits from the expansion deal for those of you who need to know every little detail.

  • Architecture firm: VOA Associates
  • City gives the Cubs 41,229 square feet of public property
  • Cubs get permission to construct a “branded arch” across North Clark Street
  • Wrigley Field allowed to have: Seasonal lighting, “live and recorded musical performances and concerts,” plays, movies, any sports events it wants
  • Wrigley’s food and beverage permission includes sidewalk cafes, picnic areas, and “without limitation, bars and night clubs”
  • Wrigley Field also allowed to add: a hotel, a museum, an ice skating rink, a spa
  • No fireworks during baseball games, except for Independence Day, post-season play, opening day and the All-Star game. But fireworks are OK for non-baseball events.
  • The Cubs may not open a poultry slaughterhouse at Wrigley Field
  • The Cubs may not open a funeral home at Wrigley Field
  • The Cubs may not open a pawn shop at Wrigley Field
  • The Cubs may not plant an urban farm at Wrigley Field
  • The Cubs may not open a hookah bar at Wrigley Field
  • Above the expanded left field Wrigley Field bleachers the Cubs may erect a large sign consisting of an LED video screen with a neon sign above it.
  • The Cubs may erect two new light towers behind the left field bleachers to improve illumination of the outfield.
  • The Cubs may erect a neon sign above the right field seats
  • The Cubs will pay $350,000 for CDOT to install traffic signals along Clark Street at Waveland Avenue, Roscoe Street, and School Street.
  • The Wrigley Field expansion will follow LEED environmental guidelines, including the planting of a green roof.
  • If the Cubs add more than 3,525 new bleacher seats they have to add one new parking space for every 10 seats. Those parking spaces can be located anywhere within one mile of the ballpark.
  • Gross area: 617,099 square feet
  • Wrigley Field area: 394,648 square feet
  • New Plaza and multi-use building: 63,180 square feet
  • New building behind Waveland parking: 12,454 square feet
  • New hotel: 45,338 square feet
  • Loading docks: 5
  • Parking spaces: 74
  • Bicycle parking spaces: 16
  • Hotel rooms: 182
  • Maximum height of Wrigley Field: 135 feet
  • Maximum height of clock tower on new Clark/Waveland building: 119 feet, 3 inches
  • Maximum height of Wrigley Hotel: 116 feet, eight inches

Below is a gallery with the latest images of the Wrigley Field expansion from the Chicago Cubs.

Below are the drawings of the Wrigley Field expansion submitted by the Cubs to the city. You can decide for yourself how well they match up with the PR hype.


Location: 1060 West Addison Street, Wrigleyville


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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