The Chicago Bears laid out their vision on a planned domed stadium at the Arlington International Racecourse property on Tuesday.
The Bears emphasized that “much remains to be decided” on a new home away from Soldier Field — and the news release had “if” italicized in the statement five times.
“If the team does proceed with the purchase of the Arlington Park property, and if the Bears organization then chooses to proceed with the development of the property, the project will be one of the largest development projects in Illinois state history,” the Bears said.
The Bears said a new stadium about 30 miles away from downtown Chicago would anchor “a multi-purpose entertainment district” and would provide the area “a new home worthy of hosting global events such as the Super Bowl, College Football Playoffs, and Final Four.”
The team also provided renderings of the project and details of its financial impact.
- The proposed project would create “more than 48,000 jobs, result in $9.4 billion in economic impact for Chicagoland, and provide $3.9 billion in labor income to workers across the region.”
- Once completed, the project would “create more than 9,750 long-term jobs” with an annual economic impact of $1.4 billion.
- Annual labor income across the Chicagoland area is estimated to be $601 million.
- It’s anticipated that the project will generate $16 million in annual property tax revenue for Arlington Heights, $9.8 million for Cook County, and $51.3 million for the state of Illinois.
The Bears are set to present more details about the development to the public at a meeting at a high school gym in Arlington Heights on Thursday.
The Bears signed an agreement to purchase the 326-acre property last September.
Chicago officials, led by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, unveiled proposals in July to redevelop Soldier Field with and without the Bears remaining the primary tennant.
One of the proposals — which could cost as much as $2.2 billion — would be to put a dome atop Soldier Field. The Bears’ lease at Soldier Field runs through 2033.
“I’m somebody who likes to plan so we’ve got plan B, plan C and others in the works as well if the Bears decide that they’re going to abandon the city of Chicago,” Lightfoot said on Tuesday, per Chicago Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt. “I hope they don’t and we’re going to keep fighting that fight as long as we possibly can.”