By Mariel Turner
Demolition crews began tearing down the bleachers of iconic Wrigley Field this week, causing some business owners in the area to worry about what the prolonged construction will do to their business.
The $500 million renovations will take four off-seasons to complete, according to Wrigley Field officials.
“We have already received complaints about the noise,” said Chastity Santigel, an employee at Salt and Pepper Diner on North Clark Street. “The new stadium will have more restaurants and it’s going to hurt us.”
However, not everyone is pessimistic about the revitalization of the ballpark; some nearby business owners are eager for the finished project to be complete.
“The construction will be great for the fans and the businesses,” said Brad Rosen, owner of Sports World Chicago, a sports apparel and memorabilia store on North Clark Street. “It will be a positive experience for everyone.”
Some neighborhood businesses believe the construction won’t really hurt or help their profits.
“We haven’t been super affected by it,” said Kaitlin Craig, supervisor at Wrigleyville Sports, a sports apparel store directly across the street from Wrigley Field on West Addison Street. “It’s the off-season for baseball so we expect to see a slow down. Wrigley Field tours have slowed but it hasn’t affected the business too much.”
The Ricketts family, which bought the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field for $900 million in 2009, says the project will generate more than $1.2 billion in revenue for the local economy and revitalize the neighborhood. The new baseball stadium also is expected to bring 2,100 new jobs to the area.
Cubs’ representatives would not comment directly on whether businesses would receive any compensation for loss of revenue due to the construction.