Cubs adding 1,800 seats to Wrigley bleachers

2/8/2006 - MLB Chicago Cubs

CHICAGO -- A $13.5 million bleacher expansion project at
Wrigley Field is on schedule to be completed by opening day and
will add about 1,800 seats to the second oldest ballpark in the
major leagues.

The expansion will give the Chicago Cubs' home a seating
capacity of just more than 41,000, said Mark McGuire, the team's
vice president of business operations. McGuire said the look of the
neighborhood park, surrounded by restaurants and bars, would not
change drastically.

"We have high confidence it will be really well received," he
said Wednesday.

Only Boston's Fenway Park, opened in 1912, is older than
Wrigley, which was built in 1914.

Most of the new seats will be near the foul poles. And the top
of the bleacher section will be more elevated.

Of the 1,800 new seats, about 250 along the right-field foul
pole will be designated as bleacher boxes with seat backs and will
cost $60 per game. The highest price for a regular bleacher seat
will be $40.

Construction crews are putting up a new exterior wall, trying to
use as much brick as possible from an original one that was knocked
down. There still will be ivy on the inside wall, and the Cubs hope
to grow it on the outer wall, too.

The new-look area will include a walkway from foul pole to foul
pole. There will be a chain-link fence near the right field pole
that will allow those outside the park to see the field, although
McGuire said it probably would be covered by a screen on game days.

The area beyond center field also will be transformed. Instead
of a forest of juniper bushes, where many home runs disappear,
there will be three rows of bushes and a lounge with a capacity of
75-100. The new bleachers could obstruct the view of rooftop seats
that surround the park.