Typically, Chicago Cubs Executive, Crane Kenney's panel at the Cubs Convention is more of a Q&A session, but the Cubs management team had a lot of new information to provide on the "Wrigley Restoration" project so the presentation took up most of the hour devoted to this discussion.
The presentation started with a brief history lesson of Wrigley, it's early beginnings in 1914 when Charles Weeghman first broke ground at Clark and Addison to the more recent additions of the electronic scoreboard in right field (for the 2012 season) to lead in to the 5 year plan the team has devised.
Alex Sugarman, a vice president with the team, made the point that the Cubs were very exhaustive in conducting various focus groups and surveys with Cubs partners, fans and others to determine the changes needed, what parts of Wrigley should not be changed and what improvements are needed most.
For Cubs and Wrigley Field fans, probably the best news was that the restoration project should be completed in a way to avoid having the Cubs play any major league games away from Wrigley Field. There was speculation leading up the convention that the Cubs may play some games at either the White Sox or Brewers stadium while constructing the new and improved Wrigley Field.
A few more highlights for Cubs fans:
42% more restrooms
More concession stands
For Cubs players:
A new clubhouse and workout facilities will be built below where the Cubs dugout is today. Jed Hoyer pointed out that he was somewhat embarrassed taking new Cub, Kjui Fujikawa on a tour of the workout facilities that were very substandard for major league baseball standards. The presentation pointed out that the clubhouse is 50% smaller than the average major league clubhouse.
The Dream Team of Architects:
The presentation went through all of the architects contracted for this project and there were numerous. The various groups involved have also worked on construction for Lambeau Field, Feneway Park, Camden Yards, Roland Garros, the Shakespear theatre in Chicago and the Rose Bowl. One of the top project management firms was also hired to make sure plans are completed timely for major league baseball deadlines.
Additional News on other projects:
Ground breaking for the Cubs new Dominican Republic facility is scheduled for May/2013
Ground breaking for the Cubs new Spring Training facility in Mesa is scheduled for October/2013
I'm sure in the years to come you will be seeing more news about the negotiations with the City of Chicago and how these renovations could affect the rooftop owners across the street, but there wasn't much conversation about this at the 2013 Cubs Convention.
The plans for a Starwood hotel near Wrigley were mentioned. Plans call for a hotel with approximately 175 rooms.