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Wrigley Field redevelopment gets Chicago council approval

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Chicago City Council has approved a planned development that outlines the rehabilitation and revitalisation work that will be undertaken in and around Wrigley Field. Mayor Emanuel said:

I am pleased to take another step forward in this process as we plan for the revitalisation of Wrigley Field and the surrounding area. There is still much work to do, and I will continue to work with Alderman Tunney and the community as we go through this process. We are continuing to move forward on this plan to bring valuable jobs and economic impact to the Lakeview community without using any taxpayer dollars.

The planned development came together after months of meetings and negotiations involving Tunney, the community, the Mayor’s office and the Chicago Cubs. Tunney said:

My sworn obligation is to act in the best interest of my entire Ward which includes not only the Cubs, but also the residents and small businesses that surround Wrigley Field,” said . “I feel that I have done that and am proud of what we all have accomplished working together understanding that compromise is a part of all negotiations.

The value of the renovation work is $500 million, including updated facilities for players, a 5,700-square-foot big screen in left field, one advertising sign in right field and a hotel in Clark Street.

Tunney’s initial fears about the screens and signage affecting residents were allayed by concessions on no additional future signage and postponing the proposed bridge over Clark Street that would have connected the hotel and ballpark.

The Ricketts family, which purchased the team in 2009, has promised a $4.7 million community fund and anticipates creating nearly 1,300 permanent new jobs at what is the third largest tourist attraction in Illinois. Club chairman Tom Ricketts said:

We still have a lot of baseball to play to get to the finish line. We still need to secure community and city approval.

Stadium Park success in Sunderland

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Sunderland City Council is further developing the Stadium Park site around the Stadium of Light, Sunderland FC’s home ground. The Hilton hotel group will build a hotel on the site, which attracts visitors to football matches and concerts.

Consultation is ongoing ahead of a submission for planning permission. Construction could then begin early in 2014 ahead of the hotel’s planned opening in summer 2015.

Councillor Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said:

This is a very exciting development for Sunderland and a statement of confidence in our city and its future, by arguably the most famous hotel chain in the world.

Having such a quality hotel on Stadium Park will have a tangible economic impact on our city, and particularly its city centre.

Sunderland City Council has acquired the land – between the Sunderland Aquatic Centre and SAFC’s Black Cat House office block – from the Homes and Communities Agency and the project will be handled by a newly-formed company, Sunderland FC Developments, a company which includes club personnel but which is not funded by Sunderland FC.

A Hilton hotel on Sunderland's Stadium Park will host fans of football and music.

A Hilton hotel on Sunderland’s Stadium Park will host fans of football and music.