Wrigleyville without Wrigley Field

As a suburbanite and White Sox fan, I'm quite enjoying the Shakespearean drama over the Ricketts' family plan to renovate Wrigley Field and juice up the neighborhood  with a hotel and other developments in the oh-so-precious Wrigleyville neighborhood.


The Ricketts family wants to sink $300 million into the decrepit Cubs ball yard, and another $200 million for the neighborhood without tapping us taxpayers for any of it. Personally, I'd start over: bulldoze the "beautiful family picnic grounds" as Jack Brickhouse used to call it when the club couldn't draw enough fans to open the upper deck. But then, I don't have this fantasy about what a great place it is to see a ballgame when you've paid $$$$$$ to land in a seat behind a pillar.

wrig towers2As a suburbanite, I constantly hear cityphiles criticize the lawns, low density, peacefulness, security, monotony and narrow-mindedness of my peers. I hope that Wrigleyville doesn't harbor any of those critics, because it would be hypocritical of them. Wrigleville is everything that cityphiles praise and nothing like those detestable suburbanites. Diversity; access to public transportation; mixed-use development and density. Especially the latter; Wrigleyville is reportedly Chicago's densest neighborhood.

But when it comes to Wrigleyville, many of its residents seem to have suburban tastes. They're not excited about the hustle and bustle of the ball park's crowds; they'd prefer the quite of residential streets. I read one of the residents objections to the renovation: we're hear long before the yuppie crowds filled the ballpark with crowds, implying that she had a right to have low crowds in perpetuity.

Jeez, maybe they should move to the suburbs. Imagine if the Cubs accepted Rosemont's invitation to move out to O'Hareland. Wrigleyville's residents should think about what would replace it. The land is so expensive that the "highest and best" use would have to be a dense, traffic generating complex. Hey, they like the city, so they should prefer Wrigley Towers. (Like the photo right.)

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  • What about Cabrini-Green II? Just bring Jesse and the gang, no doubt many of the them Thug Sox fans, to say "build affordable housing if Ricketts leaves".

    What Ricketts should do is just build anew, put up a "Mount Davis"-like montage of windowed-suites with seats on top around the outfield within the stadium's footprint and have a Steinbrenner-era Yankee Stadium-like humongous upper deck along 1st/ 3rd base. The Cubs can go the halal route for 2 years, help the Village of Bridgeview pay down its debts and share Toyota Park.

  • I agree with your article the cubville neighborhood would be nonexistent if the Cubs from that area, so many business, bars, and even housing will just blow up. The Cubs are the glue to that neighborhood and for area and the city to hold the Cubs feet to the fire as if the Cubs have no options is crazy. With the Rickets family investing their own money gee let them upgrade that stadium. If the Cubs were to move who could blame them?

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