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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Number Of Cities Vying For New Bears Stadium Hits Seven

  • Country Club Hills, Illinois becomes latest suburb to pursue NFL team
  • Locale pitches idea of a SoFi Stadium-type development
Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Add yet another stop to the Chicago Bears’ ongoing tour of potential stadium site candidates.

Already encompassing the city of Chicago and five suburbs, the Bears’ search to build their planned domed stadium and mixed-use development has now brought the team to Country Club Hills, Illinois. 

Leaders for the southern suburb — located about 25 miles from downtown Chicago — have sent a letter to team president and CEO Kevin Warren, along with owner Virginia McCaskey, asking them to consider the town.

“Country Club Hills’ strategic location near three major highways, the Metra Electric line, and the Indiana border gives the Bears the opportunity to develop a world-class stadium and experience that management purports to want for the team’s future growth,” said Monica Gordon, Cook County commissioner. 

The town’s pitch to the Bears is specifically centered on modeling the SoFi Stadium development in California. “[We] are asking Warren and McCaskey to look to Inglewood in Los Angeles as a roadmap for transforming a predominantly Black area into a thriving residential, business, and entertainment district,” Gordon said.

It is uncertain how seriously the Bears will consider the latest outreach. But a tax dispute with Arlington Heights — where the team owns the site of the former Arlington International Racecourse — has delayed the beginning of construction there, as originally intended. Leaders in Arlington Heights are now attempting to break that logjam.

As that happens, Aurora, Naperville, Richton Park, and Waukegan have all thrown their hats in the ring to host the Bears. The city of Chicago, site of the Bears’ current home of Soldier Field, also remains engaged in the stadium site deliberations. 

The team envisions a domed facility anchoring a large-scale complex capable of hosting major events such as the Super Bowl and Final Four. Initial cost estimates in Arlington Heights hovered around $5 billion. 

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