Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Bears submit bid to buy Arlington Park
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Bears submit bid to buy Arlington Park

Thursday, Jun 17, 2021

* Whoa…


* NBC 5

The Bears renovated Soldier Field in 2002, and are locked into a lease at the historic stadium through at least 2033, according to officials.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed the situation Thursday, acknowledging that while the lakefront site is “challenging,” the team is locked into a lease, and she is confident that the NFL won’t let the team break it.

“A couple of data points that I think you should be aware of are the Bears have a lease with Soldier Field until 2033, and the NFL doesn’t let any teams break their leases,” she said. “I was just on a call with senior leadership in the last two weeks. So there are things that they’d like to see differently at Soldier Field, and we want to do whatever we can to accommodate it. It’s a great iconic site, but it’s a challenging site.”

* Sun-Times

The Bears have played at Soldier Field since 1971 and have a lease running through 2033. The organization doesn’t consider that lease to be a barrier, a source said, because it could negotiate a buyout and construction on a new facility would take years anyway.

Recently built NFL stadiums have been extravagant in design and enormous in price. The newly opened stadiums in Los Angeles and Las Vegas cost $5 billion-$6 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively. The others in the last seven years are for the Falcons ($1.6 billion), Vikings ($1.1 billion) and 49ers ($1.3 billion).

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - Dan Johnson - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:29 pm:

    Please let us not subsidize the Bears in any way. If they want to move to the suburbs, do it on their own dime. No EDGE. No TIF. No special tax credit. No public bonds to finance construction. No nothing.


  2. - Healy05 - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:32 pm:

    To be honest there is a lot to like about this idea. The Bears are, at this point, likely a restrictor on that neighborhood rather than an asset. The greater Loop/South Loop area is one of the top 5 high growth neighborhoods in the entire country. Right now, there are a ton of parking lots, marginal bars and other underutilized parcels that would turn over very quickly if the Bears left.

    Fiscally, the stadium renovations from 2003 are just about paid off, and the Bears are on the hook to cover them until maturity in 2032. Once they’re gone, you can more than cover the cost of maintaining Soldier Field with concerts, fests, random soccer, football, crossfit, etc. stuff. Besides, the additions to the property tax rolls from new development would more than offset any incremental revenue loss.

    Also would create a WAY better fan experience for the Bears. Bigger stadium/more capacity, less traffic nightmare on gameday. You could really create a regional commerical core in Arlington Heights too that would enhance the economy of the northern and Western burbs. Between O’Hare, Rosemont and Bearstown you’ve got some true heft there as a center of regional and super-regional (e.g., the Midwest) gravity.

    Not sure the size of the Arlington Racetrack land but imagine you could Foxboro it and bundle in condos, a special gameday sales tax, etc. For $60/mm year you can do the entire thing via low interest bonds

    It’s a winner, they should all do it.


  3. - The Doc - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:32 pm:

    ==Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed the situation Thursday==

    Words that should make Chicagoans who want to retain the Bears at Soldier Field shudder :)


  4. - AD - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:33 pm:

    Love it. Add a Casino, Hotels, Shopping. Make it an all weekend experience with everything close to each other and add a retractable roof. I get the nostalgia of the cold weather, but I’m not going to a game in December and January. Would rather watch on 75 inches in 4k on my couch than pay over $2,000 to take my family to freeze and fight traffic.


  5. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:34 pm:

    Next week the Bulls bid on the JRTC.


  6. - Stu - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:41 pm:

    It’s Ted Phillips, so you know it’s likely a low ball offer


  7. - Lefty - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:41 pm:

    We don’t need the Bears. Let them walk. They only bring traffic and unruly fans. We won’t need as many police to serve the games, either.


  8. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:43 pm:

    It’s a long way off but no one can blame them for looking. The massive stadia going up these days would eat up half that time in planning and construction. As even the Mayor notes their current situation is less than ideal. That said, they should pay for it themselves.


  9. - OneMan - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:44 pm:

    I love watching the bears right up Eola road from me..

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1995-08-11-9508110094-story.html

    Oh yeah, that never happened, even when they had an option to buy the land.

    I think selling a bond issue to either the state or Arlington Hights is going to be tough sell. From what I understand besides the team the family doesn’t have a ton of resources, so you are looking at debt (either from the NFL or other lenders) that is at least half of the total value of the team.

    You do the ‘entertainment district’ thing, you have to build a dome or retractable roof (resulting in the costs above). Then you got to figure out how to use the facility the rest of the time. Having a retractable roof near downtown makes some sense for convention and other use. But is Arlington Heights ever going to be a convention destination?

    I don’t see it, but that is me.


  10. - Edyrdologist - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:47 pm:

    Like many of their fans, the Bears will now have to claim they’re from Chicago while actually living in the suburbs.


  11. - Red Ketcher - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:48 pm:

    as AD said “Add a Casino, Hotels, Shopping. Make it an all weekend experience with everything close to each other and add a retractable roof.”

    Be Great if they could keep the Racetrack . Racing in the Summer - Football in the Winter

    Lotta Ground there - Lotta possibilities
    And Da Bears can raise the Dough.

    Keep Racing


  12. - North Park - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:49 pm:

    Man, the return trip on that Metra line will be worse than the post-Ravinia crowd.


  13. - Fan of Coach Ditka - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:54 pm:

    What interesting know is do most season ticket holders live outside Chicago?


  14. - Responsa - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:55 pm:

    The idea of the Bears playing in the suburbs doesn’t alarm me. Doubt it will happen, though.


  15. - City Zen - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:56 pm:

    “I wouldn`t give them ice water in winter”

    - Rep. Carol Moseley Braun when the Sox considered moving to Addison


  16. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:57 pm:

    Huge suburban news.
    The Daily Herald just ordered up both hands on deck to cover this story.


  17. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 2:59 pm:

    I’m all in, 100%. As long as the Bears pay the entire freight. Billionaire sports team owners fleecing taxpayers for new stadiums is a practice that has to end.

    Put a dome on it and Illinois can finally host a Final Four too!


  18. - Chris - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:00 pm:

    20 years ago, the “right” answer was a retractable roof facility next to the United Center. Would have been a brilliant facility—imagine a glass wall in one end zone (like Indy, but bigger) facing downtown. A third more seats than Soldier Field, and the ability to sell naming rights. On the Final Four rotation, probably on the Super Bowl rotation. Win-win-win.

    McCaskeys said “Bears play on grass, and on the Lake” so we gave them what they wanted—the smallest stadium in the NFL.

    Let them be the Arlington Heights Bears. But not with another dime of tax dollars. Where they gonna move if they don’t get their way? St Louis?


  19. - K3 - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:01 pm:

    ==You could really create a regional commerical core in Arlington Heights too that would enhance the economy of the northern and Western burbs. ==

    Yeah because the northern and western suburbs are really where this state needs investment. I hope they don’t get a dime of taxpayer money for this.


  20. - Frank talks - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:01 pm:

    Good move……10 games total played at Soldier Field. No real big value to neighborhood.
    Folks who come in for the games on weekends will still stay in the city. What are you going to do in AH for 3 days?
    Pretty much abandoning the entire Southside though. Anyone tailgating from Orland Park all the way out in AH?


  21. - EssentialStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:09 pm:

    Now can the McCaskeys either be fired or offer to sell the team?


  22. - Nick - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:10 pm:

    If they want to pay for it, okay, but they don’t deserve a cent of public money.


  23. - EssentialStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:12 pm:

    ==The Bears are, at this point, likely a restrictor on that neighborhood rather than an asset.==

    They wouldn’t be as much of a restrictor on their neighborhood if the ownership was at least a little more committed to Winning. And I’m not talking about 9-7 seasons almost every year. Division titles, playoff runs, and maybe an occasional Super Bowl appearance and/or even a title too.


  24. - Medvale School for the Gifted. - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:13 pm:

    Peotone would have been a better location.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:13 pm:

    Could care less about the final aspects, but would like the retractable roof for Final Fours, College Football Playoff, and a Super Bowl.

    That’s all that Soldier(s) Field is missing… that and a Daley adding the S that I felt captures the spirit of the thing.


  26. - south side sam - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:16 pm:

    Well, the one bright side is that this will cement Lightfoot’s history alongside Jane Byrne.


  27. - Cassie - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:16 pm:

    Would this mean we could get rid of the surface parking lots along the lakefront? If so, count me in doubly.

    Maybe we could even get the Red Stars to Soldier Field if they were gone?

    Chicago should not spend a dime, nor a tax credit, to keep the Bears in the city.


  28. - levivotedforjudy - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:16 pm:

    It should have been a dome. I wonder if Mayor Lightfoot would threaten to sue them over using “Chicago” in their name if they moved the way Mayor Daley did. That was great (and he seemed like he meant it too).


  29. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:19 pm:

    ===cement Lightfoot’s history alongside Jane Byrne.===

    That’s not fair, “The Blues Brothers” is the cornerstone of the Byrne Legacy when it comes to “sports and entertainment”.

    Strong legacy


  30. - Pundent - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:24 pm:

    The city and the Bears erred on Soldier Field and it’s only become more apparent over time. The Bears are in one of the largest NFL markets with an undersized limited use stadium. This is an opportunity to fix that. That’s not to say it will happen though.


  31. - Liz - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:25 pm:

    As an Arlington Heights-ian, I would be furious if the city gives over a single penny in subsidy to the Bears, whether directly or indirectly (hotel taxes that would be paid by my guests rather than just tourists). Arlington Heights is not blighted. It does not need to gamble on promises of economic development. If the Bears are willing to spend their own money, then, fine, the racetrack is as good a site as any, with the highway and the Metra stop (though I’d be displeased if too many people decide the designated off-ramps are too backed up and get off earlier, or if their mapping software decides this for them). But I can’t envision a stadium with a fairly small number of times in use over the year meaningfully contributing to the quality of life of the community


  32. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:28 pm:

    Am I the only one who is seeing this as bid stacking to increase the price/interest for the other racing industry which has also recently put in a bid?

    No. Just me. ok.


  33. - ddp76 - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:28 pm:

    I predict Ryan gets the team and brings in a few others to help get a stadium complex built. He already owns 20% with right of first refusal on any shares being sold. Look at what’s donated to NU facilities.


  34. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:31 pm:

    NFL plays the long game. More gambling coming. mrs MacKasky cannot live for ever. Brand new stadium with two NFL teams in Chicagoland as Bears sell and NFL expands


  35. - Lt Guv - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:45 pm:

    == Not sure the size of the Arlington Racetrack land but imagine you could ==

    326 acres.


  36. - OneMan - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 3:54 pm:

    == What interesting know is do most season ticket holders live outside Chicago? ==

    If I recall correctly when they were looking at Aurora one of the arguments was most of the season ticket holders did not live in the city at that time.


  37. - justaguy02 - Thursday, Jun 17, 21 @ 4:04 pm:

    Seems like a bargaining chip for negotiations with the city. Churchill downs is going to sell to the highest bidder. I don’t believe the guy who wants the property all to hisself for 10 times a year is a serious bidder. Now if they announced a development partnership with CD, that would make sense.


TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for a week
* Weekly COVID-19 update: The trend is not our friend
* Rate Pritzker's three new TV ads
* Question of the day
* Tinfoil hats crushed in Kane County
* Another year, another federal "strike force" for Chicago
* Kind of odd
* Unclear on the concept
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Pritzker campaign manager Quentin Fulks to take over Sen. Warnock's re-election bid, replaced here by Mike Ollen
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller