September 29, 2022

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Chicago Bears To Reveal Arlington Heights Stadium And ‘Entertainment District’ Plans Subsequent Week, Reports Say

MUSEUM CAMPUS — The Chicago Bears will expose ideas for a new stadium in Arlington Heights up coming 7 days as they continue on having methods that could direct them out of Solider Area and into their own dwelling in the suburbs.

The crew will current conceptual designs for an Arlington Heights stadium 7-9 p.m. Sept. 8 at John Hersey Superior School, 1900 E. Thomas St. in the northwest suburb, according to a assertion shared by village officials.

Staff leaders reported their “transit-oriented, blended-use enjoyment district anchored by a stadium” at the now-shut Arlington Park racetrack would be “one of the largest enhancement projects in Illinois condition historical past.”

The assembly is initial appear, first served right up until the venue reaches ability. Doors open up at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 8.

Upcoming week’s conference is intended to exhibit off the program to the general public and industry concerns. A separate acceptance observe by the suburb’s village board would need to comply with.

The announcement is the newest twist in an ongoing stadium drama concerning the Bears and the city of Chicago — a saga that dates back again to the ’70s when the group 1st threatened to depart Soldier Discipline for Arlington Heights.

The city and the Bears rebuilt Soldier Industry in 2002, but it remains the smallest capability stadium in the NFL. And the Bears are tenants of the Chicago Park District, which means they spend lease and split quite a few of the earnings streams.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has tried using to convince the workforce to stay by supplying to develop a dome around the stadium, but numerous saw it as a Hail Mary with minor prospect of preserving the workforce inside the town limits.

Lightfoot’s business office explained to the Tribune the mayor built a “compelling case” for the Bears to continue to be in Chicago.

“The town will continue on to make the case to the Bears, the NFL and the public that a revitalized Soldier Subject helps make the most economic sense,” spokeswoman Kate LeFurgy mentioned in a assertion to the Tribune.

A rendering shows what a domed Soldier Field could seem like.

The Bears’ hottest dance with Arlington Heights has spanned a number of years, including an announcement in June 2021 that they would bid on the sprawling 326-acre web page that retains the now-closed Arlington Park racetrack.

Churchill Downs place the historic keep track of and its surrounding house for sale in February 2021 and then shut down racing operations at the stop of very last period. The racetrack was rebuilt after a 1985 fire and was prolonged deemed just one of the premier racing venues in the nation.

The Bears introduced in September 2021 it experienced signed a invest in agreement — but that deal has lingered for nearly a yr devoid of staying shut.

When the Bears first announced they ended up getting into the bidding, Lightfoot dismissed it as “clearly a negotiating tactic that the Bears have used before.” And she took a swipe, stating: “And like most Bears followers, we want the organization to focus on putting a winning workforce on the subject, beating the Packers ultimately and becoming related earlier Oct. Everything else is just noise.”

The Bears’ lease at Soldier Industry, the NFL’s smallest stadium with 61,500 seats, operates out in 2033. The Bears pay hire to the Chicago Park District for Soldier Area, break up revenues and have very little enlargement options. A move to a new web-site is anticipated to necessarily mean a most likely multi-billion dollar, Bears-owned sophisticated that would develop a flood of new earnings streams for the crew. No particulars on how the Bears would finance the task have been unveiled.

The Bears moved into the Chicago Park District-owned Soldier Industry in 1971, but threatened a go to Arlington Heights several years later. Then-Mayor Richard J. Daley threatened to sue to block them from calling on their own the Chicago Bears if they moved. His son Mayor Richard M. Daley also had many years of tense negotiations with the staff, who threatened to shift to Gary, Ind. in 1995.

The Bears have a lease at Soldier Field until 2033, but could crack it in 2026 by spending an $84 million penalty to the metropolis, the Tribune has claimed. That price tag goes down in upcoming yrs.

Major city groups opting for additional space in the suburbs is not unparalleled. The New York Giants and New York Jets moved out of the city a long time in the past for New Jersey. The San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Football Staff also play outside the house the towns they are named right after.

Lightfoot constructed a committee of civic leaders to occur up with a new model of Soldier Field and the surrounding Museum Campus in hopes of keeping the Bears in city — or acquiring a backup plan if they bolt.

In late July, she unveiled her system to make a dome above Soldier Industry — a $2.2 billion dome proposal that was just one of three options to strengthen the stadium as portion of a grand strategy to overhaul the lakefront’s Museum Campus. The other possibilities would make the stadium “dome ready” for potential construction or, if the Bears bolt for the suburbs, modernize it without having a dome to make a stadium improved suited for the Chicago Hearth.

She explained at the time “discussions are ongoing” with the Bears and the NFL — and she believes the group will take the dome proposal very seriously.

“It would be foolish not to,” the mayor claimed.

Credit: City of Chicago
A rendering shows what a domed Soldier Subject could look like.

And if they go away town, Lightfoot didn’t rule out trying to entice one more NFL staff to Chicago. Questioned if the town would establish a dome for yet another group, Lightfoot smiled a bit and said, “I can see that as an option, of course. Plenty of cities that have two NFL teams.”

If the dome was created, it would extensively modernize the facility, enclosing the subject to make it obtainable 12 months-round. The dome would sit on four “super columns” constructed all-around the present composition, building it weather controlled.

The dome undertaking would enhance capability from the latest NFL low of 61,500 to 70,000. It would increase seven further suites for a whole of 140, 6 new golf equipment and 4 occasions as much room for food and beverage gross sales.

“An improved Soldier Discipline will supply a world-course visitor knowledge,” Lightfoot reported. “Furthermore, any of these proposed renovations will enable Soldier Discipline to keep its part as an financial engine for Chicago for years to occur, as these adjustments will permit us to preserve bringing sports, audio and other interesting activities to our metropolis.”  

Credit rating: Town of Chicago
A rendering exhibits what a Soldier Industry dome could search like.

The dome challenge is made by Robert Dunn, recognised for establishing the stadiums for NFL groups like the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and other people. He’s also president of Landmark Progress, the team powering the possibly $20 billion One particular Central advancement proposed to soar about the teach tracks just west of Soldier Subject.

Dunn explained the dome job will be a significantly less expensive different for the Bears than packing up and heading to Arlington Heights.

Lightfoot has been adamant that she will “do anything” to hold the Bears in Chicago, formerly expressing the town would make “an terribly persuasive economic case” for the group to stay at Soldier Industry.

Lightfoot and her deputies did not element how they plan to finance a dome, but did say it could entail NFL funding, naming rights income and credit card debt. Lightfoot stated “of course” taxpayer dollars would be concerned.

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