The Chicago Bears confirmed on Tuesday for the first time that the stadium they’re considering building in Arlington Heights will be dome-shaped, but the team has sought taxpayer funding for part of the project and plans are still tentative. He pointed out that it is significant.
The Bears released an illustration of the proposed project and released the most detailed statement to date about their proposed purchase of the Arlington International Racecourse. The stadium “is a best-in-class enclosed stadium and will provide Chicagoland with a new home fit to host global events such as the Super Bowl, college football playoffs, Final Four, and more.”
The 326-acre development will also include restaurants, office space, a hotel, fitness center, new parks and open spaces.
The team estimates that construction of the proposed project will create 48,000 jobs and add $9.4 billion to the economy of Chicagoland, for an annual economic impact of $1.4 billion. The team did not seek taxpayer assistance to build the stadium, but sought public funding for the rest of the project, given the economic impact.
“We are still under contract to purchase the property, but there are conditions that must be met in order to close,” the team wrote in a statement.If We close the property, but that does not guarantee that we will develop it.
An illustration released Tuesday shows a map showing the stadium’s location along Route 53 and the Metra commuter route. The multiple district will be southeast of the stadium.
The other two figures show aerial photographs of a complex containing several buildings along with a stadium.
The team has been playing at Chicago’s Soldier Field for half a century, paying about $6.5 million a year in rent. That lease will last him through 2033, but the team will allow him to break the lease at $84 million as of 2026.
In September 2021, the Bears signed a preliminary agreement to purchase the Arlington site from Churchill Downs, the track owner who closed the racetrack last year.
The Bears said it “continued under contract to purchase the property, but there are conditions that must be met in order to be in a position to close,” but did not specify those conditions.
“While under contract with the Arlington Park seller, no other alternative stadium locations or other opportunities, including the renovation of Soldier Field, will be discussed or considered,” the team said. .
“If the team chooses to proceed with the purchase of the Arlington property and the Bears organization chooses to proceed with the development of the property, the project will be one of the largest development projects in Illinois history.”
The team predicted that construction would bring $3.9 billion in labor income to workers, with over 9,750 long-term jobs and $601 million in annual worker income.
In terms of tax revenue, the Bears estimate the deal will generate $16 million annually in Arlington Heights, $9.8 million in Cook County and $51.3 million in Illinois.
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The team did not provide details on how such projections were made. I have questioned such “propaganda” studies.
The study concluded that new sports facilities would have minimal impact on economic activity and employment, but did not address the impact of mixed-use districts, such as those proposed by the Bears.
“We are taking serious steps to evaluate the opportunities presented to us,” the team said. “The Bears remain committed to Soldier Field and will honor the terms of its lease…there is a lot of work to do before closing the property and whether or not to develop it.
“We look forward to working with key partners and stakeholders throughout the Chicagoland community and Illinois in the coming months.”
The Bears will host a community meeting Thursday night at Hershey High School in Arlington Heights to discuss plans.
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Contributed by AD Quig of the Chicago Tribune.