Chicago Bears Open Letter Regarding Closing on Arlington Park Property
Last fall, we released an open letter confirming the team had reached an agreement for the purpose of acquiring 326 acres of property in Arlington Heights to secure the potential of beginning a new and exciting chapter for the Bears, our fans, the Chicagoland community, and the State of Illinois. This week, we took another step toward realizing that vision by closing on the Arlington Park property. 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.
Should we proceed, the development of the Arlington Heights property would be one of the largest mega-projects in Midwest history. Possible construction of a stadium-anchored development is projected by analysts to create more than 48,000 jobs, generate $9.4 billion in economic impact for the Chicagoland economy and provide $3.9 billion in new labor income to workers across the region. The completed mega-project would create more than 9,750 long-term jobs, generate $1.4 billion in annual economic impact for Chicagoland and provide $601 million in annual labor income to workers across Chicagoland. The Village of Arlington Heights has hired its own expert consultant to review the economic projections, and we look forward to discussing the substantial benefits this project will provide.
Chicago Bears Open Letter Regarding Arlington Park
In September 2021, the Chicago Bears signed an agreement for the purpose of acquiring 326 acres of property in Arlington Heights to secure the potential of beginning a new and exciting chapter there. We remain under contract to purchase the property, but there are conditions that must be met in order to be in a position to close. If we do close on the property, it does not guarantee we will develop it. While under contract with the seller of Arlington Park, we will not be discussing or exploring any other alternative stadium sites or opportunities, including renovations of Soldier Field. Much remains to be decided, but any decision will be made in the best interests of the Bears long-term future, our fans and the Chicagoland community.
If the team does proceed with the purchase of the Arlington Park property, and if the Bears organization then chooses to proceed with the development of the property, the project will be one of the largest development projects in Illinois state history. We envision a multi-purpose entertainment district anchored by a new, best-in-class enclosed stadium, providing Chicagoland with a new home worthy of hosting global events such as the Super Bowl, College Football Playoffs, and Final Four.
This is just the beginning of our effort to communicate with all involved in this project. We look forward to meeting with more residents, including the business community, to get their views and input as we progress on this potential project. We want the proposed multi-use and entertainment district at Arlington Park to be complimentary to the great establishments that already exist in the community.
While the project is still very preliminary at this stage, if the development moves forward, we anticipate a multi-use entertainment district anchored by a stadium that will spur year-round economic activity, create jobs and public revenue, provide parks and biking trails, and serve as a destination for neighbors and visitors alike. The Village of Arlington Heights will commission an independent review of the analysis of the potential long-term economic benefits of the project.
The Bears will continue to work closely with government leaders of the villages and surrounding communities to create equitable opportunities for involvement if the development moves forward, including bringing in relevant local partners and deepening existing relationships.
If the development proceeds, our pledge is to remain laser focused on being a good neighbor. Foremost in achieving that goal is working closely from day one with Arlington Heights and the surrounding communities to plan for and mitigate any potential traffic impacts. We have engaged traffic professionals, at our cost, to commence working with local communities to identify the best options successfully deployed in similar developments to address this very issue. The Village of Arlington Heights leadership together with local lawmakers and officials have made it unequivocally clear that this is a top priority and we share their focus and commitment to successfully address the concern.
The Bears honor and appreciate our Season Ticket Holders and PSL holders for their ongoing support. We are still in the very early stages of considering this project. Although we have closed on the property, we have not decided whether we will develop the property. We will communicate any updates on our progress to all our Season Ticket Holders and Chicago Bears fans. We remain committed to complying with the terms of our lease at Soldier Field. We will continue to provide the best value to our loyal PSL and Season Ticket Holders throughout this process.
If the development moves forward and we decide to build a stadium, it will be only one component of the project. In addition to football games, we anticipate that an enclosed stadium on the property could be used year-round for other events such as concerts, field sports, entertainment sports, youth leagues across Chicagoland and much more. The venue will be primed to compete for Super Bowls, Final Fours and College Football Playoff Championship games, none of which Chicagoland is currently able to host without a large, world-class enclosed stadium. The entire multi-use development would provide parks, restaurants, retail, entertainment, fitness center, sports book, housing, office space and a variety of other opportunities that could be utilized 365 days a year. The site would welcome visitors from all over the world, where they will bring their families, support local businesses and enjoy time outdoors alongside Arlington Heights residents who will live, work and play here.
All current plans are very preliminary and conceptual at this time, but we anticipate a plan that will include substantially more parking and more tailgating spaces and options than are currently available at Soldier Field, including tailgate options for those using public transportation.
There will be no public assistance requested for the development that will be predicated upon an increase in property taxes for residents of the village and the surrounding communities.
If the development moves forward, it will create jobs and job opportunities available to members of the surrounding communities, spurring economic development and tax revenue for the entire region.
The Bears will seek no public funding for direct stadium structure construction or other vertical building construction across the multi-use entertainment district. There are broad, long-term public benefits of this project, and we look forward to partnering with the various governmental bodies to secure additional funding and assistance needed to support development of the remainder of the site. How much or what form this will take, we do not know at this time, but we do know that without infrastructure support and property tax certainty, the project will not be able to move forward.