The Chicago Bears’ proposal to build a new stadium could be one of the largest development projects in Illinois history, with an attached entertainment district anchored by the venue, according to preliminary details shared by the team Sept. 6.
The National Football League team is currently under contract to purchase the 326-acre Arlington Park racecourse property in Arlington Heights, Ill., as a potential site to build a new stadium to replace its longtime lakefront home of Soldier Field in Chicago. The team’s lease at Soldier Field ends in 2033.
The team projects that construction of the development would have $9.4 billion in economic impact for the Chicagoland region, including supporting more than 48,000 jobs and providing $3.9 billion in labor income.
If the Bears do opt to build a new stadium in Arlington Heights, development would also include construction of a transit-oriented multi-use district that could include restaurants, offices, a hotel and other amenities, according to the team’s announcement.
The Bears’ announcement states the team would not seek public funding for stadium structure construction, but leaves open the possibility of working with governments to support the rest of the development.
The announcement includes renderings from design firm Hart Howerton showing a to-be-designed stadium at the northwest end of the property, and a mixed-use district on the southeast side of the site. The stadium would be enclosed, which the team says would enable it to host events like the Super Bowl and college sports tournaments.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said she wants to keep the Bears at Soldier Field. In July, she proposed renovations to the stadium including the possible addition of a dome. Lightfoot estimated the project could cost between $900 million and $2.2 billion, and could save the Bears $1.5 billion or more compared to building a new venue.