The Chicago Bears are looking into a highly disputed lakefront property for their new stadium
The Arlington Heights site has reached a stalemate, it is not ruled out just yet though. The Chicago Bears are now looking to other potential sites to build a new stadium. The Bears ownership is looking into the South Lot as a location for a new Bears stadium.
NEW— Sources confirm to @ParkinsSpiegel that the Bears are doing due diligence on the viability of the South Lot as the location for their next stadium.
They’re using the same firm, Compass Land Surveying Aurora, that they used for Arlington Heights & other potential locations.
— Shane Riordan (@shane_riordan) December 6, 2023
A stadium built on the South Lot just doesn’t make sense
Keeping the Bears in downtown Chicago would be ideal for the most fans, but this property wont work.
This location has been highly contested, especially by lakefront preservationists. A new stadium there would likely meet the same pushback as the Lucas Museum did.
The Bears building on the lot south of Soldier Field likely would run into similar resistance that faced supporters of the Lucas Museum, which was planned for the same property. That project ended up in court with a lawsuit from lakefront preservationists. https://t.co/ncNWQlRHMJ
— Bill Ruthhart (@BillRuthhart) December 6, 2023
Friends of the Parks was a major advocate against the Lucas Museum. The non-profit would very likely fight a new Bears stadium on the lakefront with the same tenacity.
The city of Chicago won’t simply let the Bears build a new stadium there for free. The city will want to be able to make money off of it too. The city probably won’t give the McCaskey’s the tax breaks they are wanting either.
Although Soldier Field is already on the lakefront so tearing it down and building a new stadium on the south lot wouldn’t really change that much, as far as how much space is taken up. If the Lucas Museum saga told us anything, its that the lakefront is off limits. Looking into the site is time that could be better spent elsewhere.
Time to seriously upgrade or move on from Soldier Field
Soldier Field is historic, and the old version was iconic. But shortly after the last round of renovations, Soldier Field was stripped of its landmark status. The stadium is no longer protected by the state of Illinois and can be demolished or completely overhauled.
The McCaskey’s declined a proposition from the city of Chicago. The proposition pitched a major remodel of Soldier Field. The project featured a dome as its primary addition.
The McCaskey’s want to own the Bears next stadium. That way they can fully profit on events and games that take place at the stadium. Owning the stadium also allows them to control how it is built and the future of the building. The Chicago Bears are the primary source of income for the McCaskey family. They have no other major holdings. They want the team to be as profitable as possible, so wanting to own the stadium the Bears play in is a relatively reasonable ask.
The Arlington Heights site was demolished this year and cleared of debris, ready for construction. But negotiations between Bears ownership and the city of Arlington Heights have hit a stalemate. The owners want more tax breaks that the city has been cautious to give them. While Arlington heights is still in play, Naperville has also been discussed as a potential stadium spot.
Stadium’s are not easy to get built, that much is certain. The Bears have until 2033 to figure out what they are going to do about the stadium situation. In 2033 the Bears lease of Soldier Field expires. All the information that has been provided points to that lease NOT being renewed.
Whether it be in Arlington Heights, Naperville or some other place, the Chicago Bears time at Soldier Field is coming to an end. With the McCaskey’s set on building a new stadium for the Bears, a move to the suburbs seems more and more likely every day. And while a new shiny stadium would be nice, the Chicago Bears outside of Chicago just won’t be the same.
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