What do you give the team that wins everything? (Or, well, almost everything—damn you, Mets!) You present it, of course, with a completely refitted, tricked-out new stadium and an overhaul of the neighborhood surrounding it.
The Cubs had a groundbreaking season in 2015—finishing just four wins away from what would have been the team's first World Series appearance since 1945—and they show no signs of slowing down in 2016. Now the team is breaking a different kind of ground, as construction continues in and around Wrigley Field as part of the ongoing 1060 Project. Last year, stadium renovations carried into the regular season, and the outfield bleachers weren't even open until June. This year, a new round of improvements is set to redefine not only Wrigley Field, but the entire neighborhood as well.
Construction on a new office building and plaza just west of the stadium on Clark Street began in January. Across the street, a hotel is scheduled to be erected in place of the bro-beloved McDonald's. The Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs, has purchased more than half of the rooftop buildings overlooking the field. If this pattern holds, Wrigleyville is sure to rapidly evolve from a dumpy neighborhood into one that looks like it was built in the 21st century.
Other significant renovations include a new facade on the western wall of the park, improvements to the center-field bleachers and a much-needed expansion of the restrooms.
Cubs faithful shouldn't get too antsy about the changes to the stadium and neighborhood, though. Pretty much everything the Ricketts family has done since taking ownership of the team in 2009 has resulted in success for the North Siders. Maybe this year's renovations will give the Cubbies the last bit of moxie they need to finally take home a World Series title. Well, that and picking up two of the most sought-after free agents over the offseason.