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.
RELATED STORIES: Wrigley Field renovations may not be done by Opening Day; Chicago Cubs kick off renovation work at groundbreaking; With home season ended, Cubs prep for offseason Wrigley Field upgrades; NPS: New outfield signage may alter historic nature of Wrigley Field; Rooftop owners file suit over Wrigley Field renovations; Wrigley Field upgrades approved by city; Wrigley neighbors: We don’t want ballpark upgrades; Rooftop owners offer Wrigley Field compromise; city to discuss issue this week; Wrigley Field renovations back on hold; Cubs end negotiations with rooftop owners, expand Wrigley Field renovations; Rooftop owners, Cubs disagree over Wrigley Field renovations; Cubs to add more night games; beer plaza in question; Cubs test sign placement; rooftop owners not happy; Ricketts: No Wrigley renovations without rooftop-bleacher deal; Wrigley Field upgrades approved by City Council