Despite telling Mesa voters that development would be part of the mix at new Chicago Cubs spring-training complex, owner Tom Ricketts now says Wrigleyville West will need to wait until the new ballpark opens — if it happens at all.
The issue is pretty simple: early feedback indicates there’s little demand from retailers and restauranteurs to commit to the project. Of course, the project is still early in the process — an architect and construction firm still needs to be chosen, and there’s now some doubt as to whether the new complex could open in time for Spring Training 2013.
The Wrigleyville West component was key to what the team and the city pitched to voters who approved the project in November, but Cubs board member Todd Ricketts said his organization needs to make the stadium its priority.
“I’d like to get the stadium and the facilities built and then we can focus on the commercial side,” Ricketts said.
The economy will play a role in the timing. Ricketts said it wouldn’t make sense to build a project unless shops and restaurants are willing to move in.
RELATED STORIES: New Cubs spring facility approved by Mesa voters; Wooing voters, Mesa and Cubs release ballpark renderings; Riverside Park emerges as choice for Cubs spring-training facilities; Study evaluates potential Cubs spring-training sites ; Five sites emerge as home for new Cubs facility; Cubs to Naples: We prefer to stay in Arizona, thank you; Florida group to Cubs: Tell us if we’re really in the running to land spring training; Naples: We think we still have shot at landing Cubs spring training; Cubs, Mesa working on new spring-ballpark agreement; Mesa: We’ll finance Cubs ballpark on our own; State funding for Cubs spring facility “dead”; Florida explores new money for luring Cactus League teams; Selig pushes Cubs aside, will directly negotiate funding of new spring venue; Legislators: Yup, we want Cactus League ticket tax; Cubs: We’re not wedded to idea of Cactus League ticket tax; Cactus League teams, Selig oppose Cubs spring-training funding; Mesa to ask for state aid to keep Cubs; Cubs seriously looking at Naples spring-training bid; Naples: We’re serious about landing the Cubs; Ricketts to visit Mesa next week to tour potential spring-training sites; Lawmaker: Florida should up spending to lure spring camps for Cubs, Brewers; Cubs’ spring-training future doesn’t lie in HoHoKam Park; Mesa delegation to pitch Cubs on spring-training facilities
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at email@example.com.
Subscribers to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter see features before they’re posted to the site. You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.