Arlington Heights Elected Officials Make The Chicago Bears’ Ownership An Offer

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Come to Arlington Heights and pay less property tax.

This was predictable as politicians generally have no spine when it comes to dealing with the possibility of a big-league sports team coming into their municipality. Arlington Heights, Illinois elected officials are offering big tax breaks to the owners of the National Football League’s Chicago Bears franchise to build a new stadium in the village of about 76,000 people which is about 26 miles north of Chicago. The McCaskey family, the Bears’ franchise owners, have shifted their focus to building a new facility in Chicago after purchasing an Arlington Heights property. Arlington Heights’ officials have scrambled to come up with different tax assessment numbers in an effort to persuade the McCaskeys. Arlington Heights’ elected officials want to give the McCaskeys a significant property tax break charging only $6.3 million for the first year and $3.6 million for the second year that the McCaskeys operate a business on the site. The current tax bill for the former Arlington Park racetrack property is nearly $10 million annually and the McCaskeys don’t want to pay that figure.

The McCaskey family purchased the 326-acre piece of property in Arlington Heights that could house a stadium-village in February 2023. At one point,  the McCaskeys were dedicated to the Arlington Heights site and planned to move the team to the Chicago suburb but then the McCaskeys received the tax bill on the property and they didn’t like what they saw. The property tax was higher than anticipated and that caused the McCaskeys to do a double take. The McCaskeys pivoted and decided that Chicago was their kind of town. The McCaskey family is contractually obligated to use Soldier Field for Bears’ games until 2033 in Chicago but the lease can be terminated early if the McCaskeys pay a lease breaking penalty. The McCaskeys seem to be in the catbird seat in the stadium game.

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) carries the balls as Chicago Bears cornerback Teez Tabor comes up for the tackle during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Evan can be reached at evan_weiner@hotmail.com