A number of municipalities want the football team.
It appears that several communities north of Chicago might be interested in bringing the National Football League’s Chicago Bears franchise to town. Bears’ ownership wants a new stadium with a dome as part of a stadium-village and initially the ownership group thought it hit pay dirt by spending $197.2 million for the 326-acre Arlington Race Track property in Arlington Heights, Illinois. All was fine and dandy until the Bears’ ownership received a property tax bill and suddenly, Bears’ ownership was not so interested in Arlington Heights anymore even though the ownership has the property. But the Bears’ brand is huge in the Chicagoland area and other municipalities want to try and impress the McCaskey family, the owners of the Bears franchise.
Chicago wants a chance at keeping the team in the city at Soldier Field. The McCaskey family is contractually obligated to use Soldier Field for Bears’ games until 2033 but the lease can be terminated early if the McCaskey’s pay a lease breaking penalty. With the negotiations between the Bears’ ownership and Arlington Heights over things like taxes continuing, Bears’ ownership may have some alternatives in trying to gain leverage needed to end up with what it considers a fair value package on things like paying property tax and maybe getting tax breaks, tax incentives or a tax-free zone or payment in lieu of taxes. Aurora politicians would like to discuss opportunities for Bears’ ownership in town. Aurora is the fictional setting for Wayne’s World’s comedy skits. Waukegan, which is the hometown of one of the Golden Age of Radio’s biggest stars Jack Benny, wants a chance to show off the town to the McCaskeys. Naperville is another suitor. What will it take for any town to get the McCaskey’s business? Show the McCaskeys money as money talks.
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