Chicago Bears unveil new stadium plans, will seek public funding for ‘entertainment district’

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Chicago Bears Plans were unveiled Tuesday for a new stadium they hope to build in the city’s Arlington Heights section. While the Bears will not seek public funding to build it, they do expect to do so for the surrounding “recreation area.”

The franchise released a statement on its website discussing initial plans for the 326-acre site, which will be vaulted stadium Surrounded by a recreation area, in what was formerly Arlington Park Racecourse. Bears are still in negotiations for a contract on the site.

“While the Bears will not seek public funding for the construction of the direct stadium structure, given the broad and long-term public benefits of this project, we look forward to partnering with various government agencies to secure the additional funding and assistance needed to support the feasibility of the remainder of the development,” The team said in the statement.

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Scheme of the plan for the Chicago Bears stadium in Arlington Park.

“If the team continues to purchase the Arlington Park property, and if the Bears then chooses to move forward with development of the property, the project will be one of the largest developments in Illinois history.”

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The team continues to analyze what they expect from the project, including a “multi-purpose recreational area on which a new best-in-class indoor playground is anchored.” The hope is that the new stadium will lead to events such as the Super Bowl, College Football Playoffs And more who want to use it as a website host.

The Bears envisions the entertainment district to include restaurants, offices, a hotel, a fitness center and more “that will provide significant economic benefits to Cook County.”

An aerial view of the Chicago Bears' initial plans for the 326-acre space for a new vaulted stadium in Arlington Park.

An aerial view of the Chicago Bears’ initial plans for the 326-acre space for a new vaulted stadium in Arlington Park.
(Hart Horton/Chicago Bears)

These benefits are estimated at $16 million in annual tax revenue plus property taxes for Arlington Heights. The team also said $9.8 million will be made available for Cook County and $51.3 million for the state.

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In September 2021, the Bears family signed an agreement to acquire the property, although “there are conditions that must be met to be in a position to close.”

“There is still much to be decided, but any decision that will be made is in the long-term interest of the Bears’ long-term future, our fans and the Chicagoland community,” the statement read.

Chicago Bears President Ted Phillips speaks Monday, January 1, 2018 during a press conference at Halas Auditorium in Lake Forest, Illinois.  The Bears fired coach John Fox on Monday.

Chicago Bears President Ted Phillips speaks Monday, January 1, 2018 during a press conference at Halas Auditorium in Lake Forest, Illinois. The Bears fired coach John Fox on Monday.
(Brian Casella/Chicago Tribune/News Tribune Service via Getty Images)

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The Bears remain bound by the current lease on Soldier Field, which has been their home since 1974.