Chicago Bears’ Ownership May Look Beyond Arlington Heights For A Stadium Site

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Bears’ ownership doesn’t want to pay a high rate of property taxes.

The National Football League’s Chicago Bears’ ownership has called an audible and building a stadium in suburban Arlington Heights is no sure thing anymore. Bears’ ownership purchased the 326-acre Arlington Park racetrack property in Arlington Heights for $197.2 million with the notion of building a stadium-village. But Bears’ ownership is not very happy with the property assessment and the ownership group claims that building a stadium in Arlington Heights is no longer its “singular focus”. The Bears’ organization put out a statement expressing its unhappiness. “The Chicago Bears goal of building the largest single development project in Illinois history led by billions of dollars in private capital investment, and the jobs and economic benefits generated, is at risk in Arlington Heights. It is our responsibility to listen to other municipalities in Chicagoland about potential locations that can deliver on this transformational opportunity for our fans, our club and the State of Illinois.” Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes said the Chicago Bears’ ownership decision to begin exploring other options for a suburban stadium is “not an unexpected development.”

What are the options for the Bears’ ownership? Possibly Naperville. According to a statement from the city of Naperville, “Mayor Scott Wehrli reached out to the Chicago Bears organization to introduce Naperville as a thriving community with multiple opportunities for business investment.” Wehrli sent a letter to the Bears president Kevin Warren that included. “We have several available or to-be-available sites that may fit the characteristics you are looking for in your future home.” Wehrli and Warren then met face-to-face. Naperville is Illinois’ fourth largest city and is located about 30 miles west of Chicago. The Bears’ ownership lease with the city of Chicago to use Soldier Field runs out in 2033 but there is an escape clause that would allow the football team owners to break the deal in 2027 with an $84 million payout.

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Bo Hardegree