The Chicago Bears have followed through on their promise. On Thursday, the team completed the purchase of the Arlington Park racecourse from Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) for $197.2 million.
Completing the deal is another step towards a reality where the Chicago Bears (NFL) no longer call Soldier Field home.
Chicago Bears seal the deal, buy Arlington Park
According to a letter from the team’s Twitter account, the 326-acre Arlington Park purchase does not guarantee a new stadium.
The statement reads:
“Finalizing the purchase does not guarantee the land will be developed, but it is an important next step in our ongoing evaluation of the opportunity. There is still a tremendous amount of due diligence work to be done to determine if constructing an enclosed state-of-the-art stadium and multi-purpose entertainment district is feasible.”
However, the purchase and forward-looking statements regarding jobs and the economic impact lead experts to believe the team’s time in Chicago is over.
The team said developing a new facility in Arlington Heights could create more than 48,000 jobs. Additionally, a new stadium could generate $9.4 billion in economic impact for the local economy.
City of Chicago has work to do
The city of Chicago has made several attempts to keep the Bears at Soldier Field. Most recently, the city, in partnership with Landmark Development, released a six-minute-long video showing updated plans for the stadium.
The new Soldier Field proposal would cost $2.2 billion. Plans include:
- Expanded seating
- Adding premium restaurants
- An adjacent concert venue
- A spectacular dome allowing year-round use
After the Arlington Park purchase was complete, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot said her office had anticipated the closure for some time.
In a statement posted by ESPN, Lightfoot said: “Nonetheless, all of us die-hard Bears fans, the Mayor included, know and believe that the Chicago Bears should remain in Chicago.
Now that the land deal has closed, we have an even better opportunity to continue making the business case as to why the Bears should remain in Chicago and why adaptations to Soldier Field can meet and exceed all of the Bears’ future needs.”