CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago Cubs owners essentially hope to turn Wrigley Field into a small historic European town when they complete the ongoing renovation of the stadium and plans for new amenities outside the ballpark.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts told members of the Choose Chicago tourism agency many of those who visit Wrigley Field on game days are from outside Chicago, and even outside the state, and plans for a new plaza surrounded by office buildings and merchant kiosks that would take advantage of the fact people just want to be at the Friendly Confines, even when the Cubs aren't playing.
"I tell our guys, 'Think about when you're walking through a town in Europe, and you stumble across an historic building, and the way it's lit, and you see people just hanging around it, because it's so beautiful and so warm and so historic. We have to have our ballpark look like that on non-game days," Ricketts said.
The Wrigley Field renovation includes plans for an open-air plaza outside the ballpark, featuring green space, merchants, and a variety of activities such as live music on non-game days.
"People just want to be there is our goal, so building a plaza to do things like farmers markets, and ice rinks, and things that are friendly to the neighbors – as well as building a plaza to do different types of shows, and different types of events – which should continue to drive more revenue and more tourism to the city," he said.
The Cubs also plan to build a 180-room boutique hotel across the street.
However, some residents and existing merchants in the area have expressed reservations about the plan and its impact on traffic in what is already a busy neighborhood, especially during Cubs games.
The renovations are expected to be finished by 2018.
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