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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Bears’ $5B Stadium Plan Clears Another Hurdle

  • Arlington Heights approved a pre-development agreement with the Chicago Bears.
  • The vote allows a potential $5 billion stadium project to move to next steps.
Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears have a ways to go before moving to Arlington Heights, but they completed an important step in the process.

On Monday, Arlington Heights trustees unanimously approved a pre-development agreement regarding the team’s plan to build a $5 billion stadium and mixed-use area on the Arlington International Racecourse site.

  • The agreement does not commit the village or team to a particular project or funding arrangement, but does lay out a series of steps. Arlington Heights mayor Tom Hayes has said that the Bears ending up there is not a foregone conclusion.
  • The Bears agreed to buy the 326-acre property last year for $197.2 million.
  • The team’s lease at Soldier Field extends through 2033, and the Bears would have to pay Chicago $84 million if they broke it in 2026, with decreasing penalties thereafter.

The city of Chicago has been looking into investments such as adding a roof to Soldier Field in hopes of keeping the Bears at their home since 1971.

Taxing Question

Bears owner Ted McCaskey said the team will need public assistance to build the project.

The team has said it will not ask for government money to build the stadium itself, but will likely seek to recover tax revenue related to the project. Under one proposal, the team would collect property tax revenue over a certain set level for a specified area and length of time.

Arlington Heights leadership rejected a proposal by a libertarian group to block public funds from going to new businesses.

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