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Cubs shift gears once again on Wrigley Field renovations

Wrigley Field upgrades

Wrigley Field renovation plans have changed once again, as the Chicago Cubs have downsized outfield signage to address National Park Service concerns and preserve lucrative federal tax credits.

As you’ll recall, part of the 1060 Project — the $375-million makeover of Wrigley Field, which has begun with renovations to the bleachers this offseason — has called for the installation of seven outfield signs. And part of the funding plan for the 1060 Project has been $75 million in historic-preservation tax credits. The NPS and the IRS administer the historic-preservation tax credit program, which seeks to reward property owners to maintain historic buildings. But NPS officials expressed hesitation in allowing the tax credits when so many outfield signs were being added.

So, after negotiations with the NPS, the Cubs are shifting to a new renovation plan that has one fewer sign in the outfield and a smaller videoboard. They are presenting the plan to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks tomorrow, per Crain’s Chicago Business:

The 2,400-square-foot video board in right field will be reduced in size and moved closer to the right-field line. The new size of the video board could not be determined. A script ad sign that had been located down the right-field line will be moved to the location of the video board. And an advertising sign in left-center field will be removed….

Despite winning approval in July to construct seven signs—all of which were supposed to be up by the beginning of next season—the team has adjusted its plan after a negotiation with the National Park Service to earn a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Winning such a status from the National Park Service is a vital piece of the Cubs’ financial plan because it would qualify the team for a valuable tax credits for preserving a historic landmark.

While the changes do make sense, they come awfully late in the process. There’s already some serious doubt as to whether the bleacher renovations will be done in time for the April season opener, and shifting things around will surely mean design changes and potentially other delays.

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