WRIGLEYVILLE — This offseason's renovations at Wrigley Field are on schedule, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said Wednesday, meaning the Cubs will have a huge, brand new clubhouse by Opening Day, new seats in a section of the park and some less perceptible improvements.
Last year, bad weather slowed the completion of the offseason work, forcing the midseason opening of the renovated bleachers.
This year, the weather cooperated, Ricketts said.
And once the five-year renovation project is complete, Ricketts said it would be "a perfect time" for Wrigley to host its first All-Star Game since 1990. However, those conversations start years in advance of an actual game, and "we need to execute on our side first," Ricketts said.
For the players and coaches, the big news is the long-awaited clubhouse which is being built underneath the still-under construction plaza along Clark Street.
The clubhouse is on track for completion by Opening Day, April 11, Ricketts said.
"The big deliverable this year has been the player's clubhouse," he said. "It'll go from being the worst clubhouse in the league to the best clubhouse."
Renderings of the upper level of the Cubs' clubhouse include a batting cage, dining area, meeting room and an amphitheater. [Provided/Cubs]
The club also is focusing on replacing 7,000 seats in the left-field terrace as it begins to replace all the park's seats.
"For fans, a lot of what you're going to see when you come back this year is behind the scenes," Ricketts said. "It's the steel being replaced, the concrete being replaced, infrastructure being put in."
Once that work is complete, "We can really dig into the amenities we want to add to the park in the next few years," Ricketts said.
The plaza, which the ballpark hopes to turn into a Wrigleyville town square, should be ready for use in the summer, the team said previously. The office building located on the north end of the plaza at Waveland Avenue should be completed in early 2017.
The second year of construction at Wrigley Field includes major work on the plaza and office building that will have first-floor retail and dining. [Provided/Chicago Cubs]
New security measures — like the possibility of blocking off Clark and Addison on game days — are still in the works, Ricketts said.
Across the street, the McDonald's at Clark and Addison will close next week to make way for a hotel. Construction is expected to begin in March with the demolition of the fast-food joint.
Ricketts also commented on a recent tweet from Donald Trump. On Monday, the presidential candidate said on Twitter that the Ricketts family "better be careful" after "secretly spending $'s against me."
He was reacting to a donation of $3 million to Principles PAC by Marlene Ricketts.
"It's a little surreal when Donald Trump threatens your mom," Ricketts said."But the fact is, whether it's my mom or my dad on his Ending Spending stuff or ... what we do with the team, we're pretty much an open book.
"We stand up for what we believe in, we support the causes we think are important, and that's what America should be," Ricketts said. "That's who we are."
When asked what Trump could have meant when he suggested the Rickettses "have a lot to hide," Ricketts said he didn't know, adding that the political work of his family was "just not my daily focus."
"If we had something to hide, you guys would have found it by now, I'm sure," he told reporters.
The Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by a trust established for the benefit of the family of Joe Ricketts, owner and CEO of DNAinfo.com. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the management of the iconic team.
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