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Bears dangle possible move to Naperville

Friday, Jun 2, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Daily Herald

Plans for the Chicago Bears to plant their goal posts in the suburbs took a surprising turn Friday afternoon when Naperville Mayor Scott Wehrli met with team President Kevin Warren to discuss the possibility of building a new NFL stadium in Naperville rather than Arlington Heights.

The meeting between Wehrli and Warren took place despite the team purchasing the 326 acres at Arlington Park on the western edge of Arlington Heights for $197.2 million. The deal to buy the shuttered racetrack closed in February.

Wehrli sent a letter to Warren, dated May 24, that’s termed a formal introduction to the Bears “as you consider or reassess your planned relocation. The city would welcome the opportunity to review your business needs and our available properties.” […]

On Friday, the Bears released a statement saying they are now looking at stadium opportunities other than Arlington Park.

“We will continue the ongoing demolition activity and work toward a path forward in Arlington Heights, but it is no longer our singular focus,” Scott Hagel, the Bears senior vice president of marketing and communications said in a statement. “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.”

* Tribune

Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes said he understands that the Bears are a for-profit business and have to pursue all opportunities.

“I would be doing the same thing, explore all my options and pick the best one,” he said. “I still think Arlington Heights is the best option.”

The team is unlikely to find such a prime property as the former Arlington Park, Hayes said, with 326 mostly open acres next to major roadways and with its own commuter train station. And the Bears already own the land.

The mayor encouraged the school districts and the team to continue negotiations over property taxes, with the requirement that any deal would be a long-term economic boost for the team and the region.

Could the company just be using Naperville as bargaining leverage? Your thoughts?

       

65 Comments
  1. - Roadrager - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 1:43 pm:

    I’m so tired.


  2. - jimbo - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 1:48 pm:

    Perhaps someone should suggest Addison. Again.

    But to the question, yes.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 1:48 pm:

    LOL

    First they’re gonna leverage against Chicago, now, after starting to demolish they are gonna wage a crusade against the “Karens of Naperville”?

    Have at it. Go crazy.

    Not one nickel.., but wait till the Wehrli type, Karen type “welcoming party” decides to weigh in


  4. - Save Ferris - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 1:49 pm:

    Deerfield needs to get in on this by offering the Baxter site.


  5. - hahahahahahah - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 1:50 pm:

    ==Could the company just be using Naperville as bargaining leverage?==

    hahahahahahahahaha… yes


  6. - wow - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 1:55 pm:

    My God the Bears are bad at this.


  7. - bored now - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 1:55 pm:

    anyone know the greatest distance from stadium to “named” city for a current nfl team? if instead of the chicago bears, do they rename the team the naperville ______ (staleys?)?

    renaming the washington football team didn’t catch on so well.

    how much state money would the bears request for this move???


  8. - @misterjayem - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 1:57 pm:

    tbh, Naperville entering the discussion was probably inevitable.

    Next the Bears will threaten to return to Decatur.

    They simply have no leverage and little hope of creating any.

    N.O.P.E. — Not one penny, ever.

    – MrJM


  9. - 62629 - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 1:59 pm:

    this is why the state should not provide a single cent to the Bears. they aren’t going to leave the Chicagoland area, instead they’re just going to play cities off of each other


  10. - Roadrager - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:04 pm:

    They can move out to Rockford. Well, not Rockford proper, too big-time, too much red tape. Maybe Belvidere. Buy the Stellantis property.


  11. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:04 pm:

    Doesn’t this just amplify the message that the team doesn’t really know what it’s doing next? For months and months it’s been Arlington Heights this and Arlington Heights that.
    Now, suddenly, it’s, oh, nevermind, we’re exploring other options and nothing’s been decided.
    Would you enter into tax giveaway discussions with a corporation so undecided on its physical location?


  12. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:04 pm:

    Don’t see Arlington panicked because another has batted their lashes.

    Bears, be careful, you may not be all that.


  13. - Linus - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:05 pm:

    The next play: a return to Decatur, where it all began.


  14. - thunderspirit - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:06 pm:

    Of course the Bears are using Naperville as bargaining leverage. As they will use any other municipality for the same purpose.

    I don’t mind public funds paying for the surrounding infrastructure improvements, but they can pay for their own stadium — and the taxes on it.


  15. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:07 pm:

    “Renaming the Washington football team didn’t work so well ”

    It’s over, already.


  16. - Victor - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:07 pm:

    Are the Bears considering Indiana? Would the State and the City sue them out of the Chicago name if they do move there?


  17. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:09 pm:

    ===They simply have no leverage===

    They could plant corn and convert the area to agricultural land. Taxes would be pretty darned low until they needed to begin construction.


  18. - GV - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:12 pm:

    @bored now - The San Francisco 49ers’ stadium in Santa Clara is 32 miles from the center of San Francisco. Naperville Central is 28.35 miles from the Art Institute. (unsure of how to decide where the center of Chicago is)


  19. - The Dude Abides - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:14 pm:

    = Linus - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:05 pm:

    The next play: a return to Decatur, where it all began.=

    The old Firestone campus would be a perfect spot for a new stadium


  20. - Sox Fan - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:15 pm:

    Has anyone talked to the sponsors of the stalled bill for the tax giveaway? I’d be upset if I were one of them


  21. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:16 pm:

    An expression used here by others …

    Grifters gonna grift.


  22. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:16 pm:

    –They could plant corn and convert the area to agricultural land.–

    On-field production has not been the Bears strength.


  23. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:16 pm:

    Yep. No intention of going to Naperville.

    Streator has a couple old coal mine slack piles we’d be happy to level out for them.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:17 pm:

    Arlington Heights next offer is “nothing”

    “And you can forget any legislation passing to help with relief, so, build or don’t, we expect your answer in the morning”


  25. - Roadrager - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:18 pm:

    ==Would you enter into tax giveaway discussions with a corporation so undecided on its physical location?==

    I certainly wouldn’t enter into them with a corporation loudly and proudly braying that it overpaid for the plot of land on which it expects to reside by more than 400%.


  26. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:20 pm:

    Given all the pork that Mr. D got pumped into Arlington Park over the years it would be a fitting location for a mega-hog farm.


  27. - DS - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:20 pm:

    The Chicago Bears of Naperville is a little too on the nose.

    Not one cent of state money.


  28. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:21 pm:

    Welcome to Hardball…
    They still end up at Arlington but of course, this is turning up the temperature…


  29. - The Captain - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:22 pm:

    Eventually this will come full circle and they’ll undercut whatever is their latest poorly thought out idea by threatening to move into the vacancy at Soldier Field.


  30. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:24 pm:

    ===this is turning up the temperature…===

    No it’s not, lol

    The Karens of Naperville will begin a crusade that “it will ruin what we have” …

    Lest we forget that stadiums as a general rule are built in blight areas with cheap land and folks begging for development

    A 1500 square foot home in Naperville is $600K… /s

    That sound like “blight”?


  31. - Crash - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:24 pm:

    As Flyin’ Elvis said, those of us in Arlington Heights really don’t care either way.
    I really doubt whether anyone does.
    In increase in traffic 8 days a year is not going to have much of an impact, and none of think that Bears fans are going to be headed to Arlington Heights for meals afterward.

    It is not much of a threat if nobody cares.


  32. - North Park - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:26 pm:

    ==(unsure of how to decide where the center of Chicago is)==

    Same place as always: 0,0 on the grid. State and Madison.


  33. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:27 pm:

    The Bears can play at North Central College until the building is built.

    That’s 41% snark


  34. - The Truth - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:29 pm:

    There could be some truth to this. My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with a girl who saw Staley the Bear pass out at Quigley’s Irish Pub last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.


  35. - JS Mill - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:32 pm:

    =The mayor encouraged the school districts and the team to continue negotiations over property taxes,=

    The mayor should mind his own business. Schools know how to bargain. If I were them I wouldn’t give an inch.

    In Naperville, the schools will also have a say.b And a TIF won’t work so well out there.

    =They could plant corn and convert the area to agricultural land. Taxes would be pretty darned low until they needed to begin construction.=

    They would have to get it rezoned. Good luck with that. And farm land would cost a pretty penny in taxes as well.


  36. - Pundent - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:34 pm:

    The Bears have no leverage here. I can appreciate that they might try to create some by throwing Naperville in the mix, but they have no leverage. And all paths lead back through the state doing something and that doesn’t change whether they’re talking about Arlington Heights or Naperville.


  37. - SAP - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:37 pm:

    The Bears just learned about this new-fangled invention called leverage. That’s adorable.


  38. - Save Ferris - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:40 pm:

    “That’s 41% snark”

    Brian Piccolo is not amused.


  39. - ChicagoBars - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:42 pm:

    The Bears Friday news dumping their own craven bargaining ploy gives me much more joy than the Bears have given their fans in years.


  40. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:43 pm:

    Any legislation to help the Bears with tax relief must begin and end with a $300 million payment, over 10 years, to Chicago

    Naperville, Arlington Heights, the monies are the monies.

    There’s no leverage, even less if the Bears get no relief and build on their dime anyway, which they can easily finance.

    If you’re shopping a billion dollar enterprise that can’t figure out how leverage works, odds are your billion dollar enterprise is a joke to business acumen.

    I’d rather be AH right about now.


  41. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:46 pm:

    ===Brian Piccolo is not amused.===

    “Style, I say”…

    🎵🎶 Rah Rah Wake Forest Rah
    Old Alma Mater’s sons are we. 🎶🎵


  42. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:47 pm:

    Leverage smedarge that land is valuable without the Bears, and many AH residents would just assume keep their quiet Sundays (and other days) and not have to displace the homes on much of Euclid Avenue.


  43. - SAP - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:49 pm:

    If the Bears were serious about generating leverage, they’s apply for racing dates and gaming positions.


  44. - In_The_Middle - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:52 pm:

    A little off topic: Nevada is working on legislation to get the A’s to Las Vegas. The A’s will demolish a casino and have a stadium built and be playing in said stadium before the Bears and the State decide what they want to do.


  45. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:53 pm:

    Re: the Bears could let the land lay fallow - can’t AH either force them to do something with the land or alternative pass a tax covering undeveloped land of a certain acreage? I thought I’ve read where Chicago has the authority to force owners of stores that have sat vacant for years to find tenants or sell. Anyway, that’s an awfully valuable parcel of land to keep unused out of spite.


  46. - jackmac - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:56 pm:

    The Chicago Fire played a few seasons at North Central College in Naperville. Why not the Bears? Throw up a few extra sets of bleachers and the Bears will be all set.


  47. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:57 pm:

    ===Nevada is working on legislation to get the A’s to Las Vegas.===

    It’s hit a few snags, now different parcels, use the Google key. Interesting, but not everything is gold out there for the A’s

    ===that’s an awfully valuable parcel of land to keep unused out of spite.===

    As long as the Bears keep paying the taxes (what’s et they are) on the land, it’s a sweet self-own because if it’s all that valuable, the Bears should have no problem flipping it by the end of this weekend.

    :)


  48. - Give us Barabbas - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 3:00 pm:

    This smells like a real-estate pump-and-dump scam in the making, playing speculators.

    Springfield should offer up the Pillsbury site next.


  49. - Pundent - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 3:00 pm:

    =The A’s will demolish a casino and have a stadium built and be playing in said stadium before the Bears and the State decide what they want to do.=

    I think the state has decided. They don’t want to do much to help the Bears. The ball is in the Bears court and they don’t seem to have any idea what to do with it. Probably because they overplayed their hand as soon as they purchased the Arlington Heights property and made their intentions known of bailing on the City of Chicago. There’s no upside in the State enabling that. And as far as Nevada goes, ask the residents of the state how they feel about the A’s coming to town. They aren’t exactly rolling out the red carpet for them.


  50. - Dirty Red - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 3:02 pm:

    Bring the Staleys back to Decatur! If Eisenhower H.S. drops their football program, there’s a perfectly fine taxpayer-subsidized stadium waiting for the homecoming.


  51. - Vote Quimby - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 3:03 pm:

    I think it’s a classic case of overplaying your hand on Da Bears part. It’s hard to backfill leverage.


  52. - walker - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 3:15 pm:

    Probably time to get the rookies to put on some pads.


  53. - West Side the Best Side - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 3:15 pm:

    The Bears paid for the property in Arlington Heights and now might be paying even more in Naperville? How does that fit in with the Papa Bear tradition of throwing nickels around like manhole covers?


  54. - Amalia - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 3:16 pm:

    this is no longer football. it is throw -up- ball.


  55. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 3:16 pm:

    ===Probably because they overplayed their hand as soon as they purchased the Arlington Heights property and made their intentions known of bailing on the City of Chicago.===

    Indeed, this is everything, too cute by half as well.

    How it shoulda went down;

    * Publicly state their intention to buy the racetrack, “only if certain taxing formulas can be agreed”

    * Get the Guv on board, with a deal for Chicago, for infrastructure (roads, sewers) work in monies with “tourism”, a partnership there (Note: the Chicago monies are the leverage to get the other backside monies)

    * Propose to AH, “We have a plan in place if you’d like us to be here and purchase”

    * Only close on the property after the legislative session and ducks are in rows.

    But… they did none of that.

    Pre-Game is everything.

    Now the offer is “Nothing”, and the $300 million that the state would like the Bears to put up, personally “for the license”


  56. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 3:27 pm:

    This is like one of those 4th and short plays where your QB screams loud and gesticulates in hopes of the other team panicking and giving you a first down. Most of these end with the ball never being snapped, the team calling a timeout and punting. The Bears are VERY familiar with this.


  57. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 3:42 pm:

    Yeah, poor leverage. It just underscores the why it was poor judgment for Mayor Lightfoot to blast the Bears. The Sox did the same rigmarole in the 1980s and ended up right back where they started.


  58. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 3:48 pm:

    What about moving to Peotone right next to the new international airport? Lots of open land.


  59. - Homebody - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 3:53 pm:

    No handouts for billionaires. Done.


  60. - JoanP - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 4:02 pm:

    I don’t care where they go as long as they take their UFO with them.


  61. - Original Anon - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 4:04 pm:

    I assume everyone on this site opposed the billion dollar tax subsidy for Lincoln Yards? If not, try being consistent. Tax breaks for large scale developments are common.


  62. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 4:07 pm:

    ===I assume===

    Well, that’s your first mistake.

    ===try being consistent. Tax breaks for large scale developments are common.===

    Yeah, that’s not this.

    This is a billionaire family in a monopoly franchise that will see a $200-400 million dollar value windfall, by existing, because another monopoly piece is being sold

    Please. Keep up.

    This ain’t garden variety anything


  63. - Original Anon - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 4:12 pm:

    “That’s not this” because? Lincoln Yards is also a massive proposed mixed-use development. Like all similar developments it (a) garners tax breaks and (b) earns money for the developer. Please keep up.
    Government should bot disfavor developments because OW dislikes the owner.


  64. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 4:16 pm:

    ===“That’s not this” because? ===

    1) it’s a closed, non-compete business model, franchises and markets regulated in a closed monopoly

    2) revenue is spread among “competitors”, all gaining equality towards one product, football

    3) revenue and spending are regulated to provide equality (on paper) to consumers, which are billion dollar entertainment platforms.

    Are you that dense, or did you start Friday early and decided to show that?


  65. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 4:19 pm:

    ===because OW dislikes===

    LOL

    Friend, the governor called the boondoggle a “bailout”

    They got bigger problems than me


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