Rehabbing Wrigley

the Chicago Cubs baseball team undertakes a major project on its 101-year old stadium


Rendering of the outdoor plaza

Renovating an iconic baseball stadium in a densely populated neighborhood has proved a challenging exercise in project management for the owners of the Chicago Cubs, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. With hard-core fans and neighbors watching every change at Wrigley Field and the team still playing regular home games there, the project has required careful stakeholder management and scheduling.

The US$575 million project at the Cubs’ 101-year-old stadium features updates to the stadium structure and seating, the press box, bullpens, clubhouses and luxury suites. Two new large video screens have been installed, and a renovated outdoor plaza and new hotel adjacent to the park are also planned.

The project's schedule originally called for construction to be finished by 2018, with stadium work taking place during the offseason (October-March). But during the winter of 2014-2015, severe weather and a damaged water main stalled progress. There were other obstacles: The project team wanted to work on the stadium 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but the city's mayor said he wouldn't allow that in such a residential neighborhood. Meanwhile, owners of nearby ticketed rooftops sued over new field signs and Jumbotrons that would obstruct their patrons' views.

When the season started in early April, expanded bleacher seats and some restrooms were not ready as planned. Neighborhood residents also complained about noise from the new video screens. The team's owners say construction could extend an extra year as the project team works to please fans, neighbors and city regulators.

“Once every 100 years someone fixes the park, and we want to make sure we do it right,” Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts told the Chicago Sun-Times in March. —Imani Mixon

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