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Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts: Wrigley renovations will help Lakeview

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Chairman Tom Ricketts is trying to sell the Cubs' $500 million plan to renovate Wrigley Field to the team's Lakeview neighbors.

Ricketts said he will keep peddling his plan until the city signs off on his $500 million Wrigley renovation and neighborhood redevelopment project. His selling point Tuesday? How Lakeview businesses will benefit.

"Our privately funded plan to save Wrigley will grow that economic annual by more than $94 million . . . and create 800 construction jobs," Ricketts said.

But it's not just the businesses around Wrigley that will see the boost. Some as far as a mile away are convinced they will experience a trickle down affect.

"I think the boost for us is going to be the remote parking and people realize there's easier access away from the ballpark," Joe Kenny, Finley Dunnes Tavern, said.

Some small Lakeview hotels are supporting the project even though the Wrigley plan includes a boutique hotel on the northwest corner of Clark and Addison.

"What they are building is a very upscale hotel, it's going to drive more people to it, and get more people familiar with our area," Keith Scott, Broughton Hotels, said.

Many hope the project will make Lakeview a tourist destination. The Lakeview Chamber of Commerce says it's hard not to like plan that uses private money to generate millions of dollars for the community. However, the chamber does have concerns about the Cubs' plan to close off Sheffield for family friendly events.

"Is there an opportunity for local businesses to participate in that or is it really just an extension of the private enterprise in the public way. That's really our only concern," Heather Way, Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, said.

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