Chicago Bears fans have been curious how serious the Bears were about buying property in Arlington Heights for a stadium. The Bears have now upped the ante. They have selected Manica Architecture per a spokesman for the team. That firm is the same one who constructed the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Bears reps declined to elaborate. All that was said was its part of the "due diligence” for a potential stadium in Arlington Heights
The Bears also added CAA Icon and Jones Lang LaSalle to the team. CAA Icon was the sports management firm that assisted the Ricketts during the Wrigley Field Renovations. Jones Lang LaSalle was the commercial real estate firm that assisted the McCaskey’s in the 2003 Soldier Field renovation.
The Bears to Arlington Heights Build Up
Last September, the Chicago Bears and Churchill Downs, who owns the Arlington Property, reached an agreement of $197.2 million. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2023. Also, the the local government in Arlington Heights would have to allow a zoning change for an NFL stadium.
This move shows that the Bears are serious and putting money where their mouth is. Last we heard from Ted Phillips was at the press conference that launched the Bears coaching search. Phillips said he was the person spearheading the Arlington Heights property, and the Bears were just examining if it was feasible for the location to house an NFL stadium.
With this new update, there is a shift in their tone. The Bears are now acting under the assumption it is feasible. Hiring an architect could be seen as a negotiation tactic for getting the city of Chicago to further discuss Soldier Field Renovations. Realistically, it is not. Hiring a team of firms to put in months of work comes at a large cost and use of man power. It is a serious business move. Specifically hiring Manica, the group that built a $2 billion stadium, signals the McCaskey's have the money to build "something state of the art". More importantly, it signals they will likely see this build through to its completion if it breaks ground.
Arlington Park Status
As for Arlington Racetrack, which currently sits on the property, Churchill Downs said it is moving many of the races to Louisville, Kentucky. Track officials are prepping for the sale and auction of the track resources and equipment.