Thursday December 7, 2023

Arlington Heights Looks To Break Stadium Logjam With Bears

  • Village board cites striking Bears deal as its top priority
  • NFL team continues to talk with cities and towns across the region
A Chicago Bears helmet.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
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Despite a “stalemate” now entering its fourth month, leaders in the Illinois suburb of Arlington Heights are still trying to work out a development deal with the Chicago Bears.

This month, the Arlington Heights Village Board unanimously supported a nine-point strategic priority list for 2024-25 — topped by creating a plan with the Bears to redevelop the Arlington International Racecourse.

The Bears purchased the racetrack property early this year and seemed to be on an inevitable path to a deal for a $5 billion mixed-use development, including a domed stadium. But a tax dispute significantly impeded negotiating progress, leading Bears president Kevin Warren to offer a grim outlook in June, when communication with the town largely stopped.

The team has since discussed a potential stadium development with cities and towns all over the Chicago area, but Arlington Heights hasn’t given up on completing a deal. While talks continue, prior structures at the racetrack have been razed.

The officially stated aim is to work with the Bears, “our residents and businesses, and all other local, regional, and statewide partners to develop a responsible, mutually beneficial, and one-of-a-kind redevelopment plan for the Arlington Racetrack that benefits our community’s interests and is worthy of the property’s legacy.”

“I want to assure the members of the community this is a very important step that the village board takes,” said Robin LaBedz, village board president pro-tem. “These aren’t just priorities that get put on a shelf and forgotten about for the next two years — they actually drive the work of the staff and the village.”

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