Arlington Heights Urges Chicago Bears to Consider Relocation

Vince Carbonneau
April 29, 2024  (2:26 PM)

Possible arlington Heights Projects
Photo credit: Chicago Times

Should the Chicago Bears reconsider their $3 billion plan for a new enclosed stadium and surrounding amenities at their current lakefront location, Arlington Heights remains a welcoming alternative. Mayor Tom Hayes of Arlington Heights asserts that the prospect of the NFL team relocating to his town is still open, despite no concrete agreements being made yet.

«It was never a guaranteed deal that the Bears would move to Arlington Heights. Similarly, nothing is set in stone with their plans in Chicago. We're prepared to resume discussions with the Bears should their lakefront proposal be rejected,» Mayor Hayes told the Pioneer Press.
As Bears President and CEO Kevin Warren focuses efforts on redeveloping the lakefront, he notes that the team still holds ownership of the former Arlington International Racecourse site, making them the largest landowners in Arlington Heights. «Our current priority is the lakefront property in Chicago. That's where we're investing all our resources,» Warren stated during a meeting with the Chicago Tribune editorial board.
Despite this focus, the lure of Arlington Heights remains strong. The Bears secured the 326-acre racecourse site from Churchill Downs for $197 million last year and have since cleared the existing structures to make way for potential development. Mayor Hayes highlighted the advantages of their proposal, stating, «Our plan allows the Bears to not only own their stadium but also provide the game-day experience they've been seeking, which has become the industry standard.»
Moreover, Hayes is confident that Arlington Heights offers more than just an alternative site; it provides the opportunity for the Bears to own their venue, contrasting with their current rental agreement at Soldier Field, which expires in 2033.
Warren, having assumed leadership of the Bears in January 2023 from Ted Phillips, seems unfazed by the distinction between owning and renting. He reflects on his time with the Minnesota Vikings, emphasizing a philosophy of partnership over ownership. «We don't view being a renter negatively. It's about being a strong partner, which we aim to be with Chicago,» Warren commented.
While Arlington Heights residents generally support the idea of the Bears' relocation, they are adamant that local taxpayers should not bear the financial burden. This issue, along with ongoing disputes over property taxes with local school districts, continues to complicate potential plans.
In conclusion, Arlington Heights stands ready as a viable alternative for the Bears, should their current plans falter, with both the space and the community support needed to welcome the team.
APRIL 29   |   193 ANSWERS
Arlington Heights Urges Chicago Bears to Consider Relocation

Should the Bears move to Arlington Heights if the Chicago plan falls through?

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