WRIGLEY FIELD — The long-anticipated Park at Wrigley was unveiled Monday before the Chicago Cubs' home opener at Wrigley Field.
The triangle-shaped plaza, Starbucks Reserve and two-story Cubs Store opened in time for Opening Night, which kicks off at 7:05 p.m. against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Soon to follow are a trophy room displaying the 2016 Commissioner's Trophy and a Josten's jewelry store. Later this summer, the Brickhouse tavern-style restaurant will join.
Monday morning's sunny skies and warm weather gave select fans a chance to see what the plaza will have to offer this summer. Community partners Green City Market and Old Town School of Folk Music were a couple of the community partners offering music and produce.
"Our vision was to create a neighborhood center where families, fans and visitors can find entertainment, unique and local food options and daily attractions in an urban park setting," said Crane Kenney, Cubs president of business operations.
It's been four years since the Ricketts family, which bought the Cubs and Wrigley Field in 2009, pitched the idea of a town square-esque plaza on the west edge of the ballpark. Initially set to become a parking garage, the area instead will offer family movie nights, an ice skating rink and a summer farmers market.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined the Ricketts family at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was followed by pre-game festivities on the plaza.
The plaza will be open exclusively to ticket holders on game days and during concerts at the ballpark, as dictated in a new city ordinance outlining the use of the first-of-its-kind plaza in Chicago.
When construction at Wrigley Field began in 2014, the Cubs considered a plan to play one season away from the ballpark to speed up renovations.
That season would have been 2016, when the team won its first World Series championship in 108 years, Kenney explained.
"We're pretty happy we got to celebrate that success at the ballpark," Kenney said Monday.
The Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by an entity controlled 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.