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Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Wrigley upgrades to start in July

By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- The Cubs will break ground in July on their long-awaited renovation to Wrigley Field, team officials told reporters on Tuesday.

The Cubs will start the renovation on their cramped home clubhouse in July and it should be ready by Opening Day 2016.

The Cubs revealed more about their plans to renovate Wrigley Field in the face of rooftop owner opposition in a news conference Tuesday.

Sheffield Bleachers
The bullpens would move from the field to underneath the bleachers at Wrigley Field.

At the news conference, Cubs president Crane Kenney told reporters the approximate cost of the project is now estimated to be $575 million, or $75 million more than initially planned. Much of the added expense involves the expansion of the clubhouse.

Most notably, the new pictures showed an outfield with five raised signs and two video boards. When the Cubs and the city came to an agreement about the project last year, there was only supposed to be one video board in left field and a Budweiser sign in right field.

The added signs will bring in more revenue and irritate the rooftop owners. That is, if the Cubs go through with these new plans, which are expected to be introduced to the city landmark committee next week.

A stalemate with rooftop club owners had hampered the start of the project, which also includes a boutique hotel, an office building, an outdoor plaza and various additions to the 100-year old stadium.

Last week in a video address, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said the Cubs were done waiting for an agreement with the rooftop group and would begin plans for the renovation, which is slated to take four years. The Cubs and the rooftops signed a 20-year deal in 2004 that protected their views in exchange for giving the Cubs a 17 percent cut of their gross revenues. The rooftop group has threatened litigation.

The Cubs say the agreement, which has been posted online, allows them to "expand" Wrigley with governmental approval to its landmark status.