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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Bears Facing ‘Multiyear’ Wait for Possible Move, New Stadium

  • The approval process for the Chicago Bears' move to Arlington Heights could take months — more likely years — to complete.
  • The Bears first have to close on their $197.2 million purchase of a 326-acre property.
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Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears won’t need to start packing for Arlington Heights anytime soon.

Officials at the village outlined an approval process for the NFL team to break ground on a new $5 billion stadium, but the multi-step process could take months — more likely years — to complete, per The Daily Herald.

The Bears first have to close on their $197.2 million purchase of a 326-acre property from Churchill Downs Inc., then will need to submit plans and studies to the village hall, including:

  • Traffic, transportation, and parking plans
  • The economic feasibility of the project for the team
  • The economic impacts and benefits for the village and other local governments 

The village, two consulting firms, government agencies, and cities will need to review the documents. Other hurdles include zoning issues and a potential amendment to a previous comprehensive plan.

The Bears have also publicized plans to formally ask the village and other government bodies to help finance portions of the stadium and district. 

“I don’t think we’ll be in a position to have anything close to a final vote in 2023,” village manager Randy Recklaus said. “I think this is a multiyear effort, and that’s if they’re interested in moving relatively quickly.” 

Soldier’s Sum

The Bears’ lease at Soldier Field extends through 2033, but if they break the lease in 2026, they’d have to pay Chicago $84 million with decreasing penalties thereafter. 

Chicago has been looking at potential stadium investments to keep the Bears, including a roof for Soldier Field.

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