Things are heating up between the Bears and the City of Chicago. In the wake of Mayor Lori Lightfoot floating the possibility of putting a dome on Soldier Field, additional potential upgrades have been released. A working group for Lightfoot published renderings of an upgraded Museum Campus that included Soldier Field.
The main features include multiple upgrades to Northerly Island, a pedestrian bridge over the harbor, land expansion, and landscape improvements. Other elements consist of a concert venue on the north side of Soldier Field and a Bears tailgate plaza.
The Chicago Bears Respond
The Bears released a statement shortly after which essentially shut down the possibility of the team staying on the lakefront.
“The only potential project the Chicago Bears are exploring for a new stadium development is Arlington Park.”
It comes as no surprise that these proposed “upgrades” didn’t entice the Bears. Simply put, these potential changes do not address the major issues at hand. The Bears would still have the smallest NFL stadium by capacity (61,500). And if these changes came to be, parking issues and the entrance/exit logistical nightmare would persist, and potentially become worse.
The Bears’ statement also left another interesting bread crumb regarding Arlington Heights.
“As part of our mutual agreement with the seller of that property, we are not pursuing alternative stadium deals or sites, including renovations to Soldier Field, while we are under contract.”
There you have it. The Bears are all-in on the move to Arlington Heights.
The initial agreement between the Bears and Churchill Downs Inc. last fall for the purchase of the Arlington Heights site was for $197.2 million. According to Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen, the company can close the sale of the property at Arlington Park by mid-2023.
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