Chicago can't bear its crappy stadium any longer, moving to the 'burbs.

Nator

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The Bears look like they are done in downtown Chicago.
https://chicago.suntimes.com/bears/2021/9/29/22699836/chicago-bears-arlington-heights-park-purchase-move-stadium
The Bears announced Wednesday morning they have agreed to purchase the Arlington Park property in Arlington Heights, but stopped short of promising to build a new stadium there.
The purchase will take time to complete, similar to closing on a house, but Churchill Downs selected the Bears’ bid and is moving toward finalizing the sale.
“[It’s] the critical next step in continuing our exploration of the property and its potential,” team president Ted Phillips said in a statement. “Much work remains to be completed, including working closely with the Village of Arlington Heights and surrounding communities, before we can close on this transaction.
“Our goal is to chart a path forward that allows our team to thrive on the field, Chicagoland to prosper from this endeavor and the Bears organization to be ensured a strong future. We will never stop working toward delivering Bears fans the very best experience.”
Soldier Field is the smallest stadium in the NFL, mostly due to the constraints they had to work under during their renovation nearly 20 years ago. The resulting aesthetic was that of a spaceship that landed in the middle of the original Soldier Field. Getting to and from games made getting into and out of Gillette a much more pleasant experience by comparison if you had to drive.

Now, since I live in Arlington Heights about a 45 minute walk away from the property, I am pretty excited about this. However this take might age badly if every Sunday afternoon features drunken 300lb Bears fans wandering from the nearby downtown area into my lawn to pass out after a 31-3 loss to Green Bay.

The acreage of the property is actually bigger than that of SoFi stadium, so there will be a bunch of stuff in and around the stadium.

This is a big step beyond posturing with the city of Chicago.
 

Bergs

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Now, since I live in Arlington Heights about a 45 minute walk away from the property, I am pretty excited about this. However this take might age badly if every Sunday afternoon features drunken 300lb Bears fans wandering from the nearby downtown area into my lawn to pass out after a 31-3 loss to Green Bay.
How does this differ from any other Sunday afternoon in the NW 'burbs? (I'm in Palatine)
 

67YAZ

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WBEZ reporting suggests that this is getting personal and nasty, as almost everything involving Lightfoot seems to. The Bears asked for an infrastructure report on the stadium, and the Park District Super retorted in an email that the team already had it and can't be trusted because of "historical misstatements." The team also wants to explore opening a sportsbook onsite, but the mayor doesn't want to undercut the mythical and still not real "downtown casino".

It also turns out that the Bears will only pay $6.5m in rent to the Park district this year, an amount that increases with inflation annually but was cut in half last season due to a special negotiation due to COVID. The cost of breaking the lease in 2026 will be $84m and decreases annually until the deal expires.

Park District hardliners are going to say the $84m windfall will more than make up for the lost rent and new events can be scheduled in Soldier Field on 10 Sundays a year. The Bears will see the cost to break the lease as a minor expense and probably jump at the opportunity to outright own a massive mixed-development stadium complex located on a rail line. Add in Lightfoot's pugnacious style, and I think the Bears are as good as gone.
 

Leather

given himself a skunk spot
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Jul 18, 2005
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What 10 events in the autumn can they use SF for? By 2026 there won’t even be more than 2-3 musical acts acts popular enough to fill stadiums. Would the MLS team want to take over?
 
Jul 15, 2005
3,300
Chicago
WBEZ reporting suggests that this is getting personal and nasty, as almost everything involving Lightfoot seems to. The Bears asked for an infrastructure report on the stadium, and the Park District Super retorted in an email that the team already had it and can't be trusted because of "historical misstatements." The team also wants to explore opening a sportsbook onsite, but the mayor doesn't want to undercut the mythical and still not real "downtown casino".

It also turns out that the Bears will only pay $6.5m in rent to the Park district this year, an amount that increases with inflation annually but was cut in half last season due to a special negotiation due to COVID. The cost of breaking the lease in 2026 will be $84m and decreases annually until the deal expires.

Park District hardliners are going to say the $84m windfall will more than make up for the lost rent and new events can be scheduled in Soldier Field on 10 Sundays a year. The Bears will see the cost to break the lease as a minor expense and probably jump at the opportunity to outright own a massive mixed-development stadium complex located on a rail line. Add in Lightfoot's pugnacious style, and I think the Bears are as good as gone.
Maybe ND-Navy gets moved to Soldier Field
 

cornwalls@6

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from the wilds of western ma
I have no real dog in the fight, except to say I've always loved the lakefront setting of Soldier Field. Been to the old one a few times, and the spaceship once. So many classic games from there in the 80's - Where's the fog going to come from now? Heading far out into the 'burbs seems like a step back, but obviously footprint, luxury suites, amenities, etc. will all be vastly more desirable than the current stadium.
 
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67YAZ

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What 10 events in the autumn can they use SF for? By 2026 there won’t even be more than 2-3 musical acts acts popular enough to fill stadiums. Would the MLS team want to take over?
Maybe ND-Navy gets moved to Soldier Field
Oh, they’ll never actually recoup the lost Bears revenue, though the fee to break the lease will be a nice windfall that will be promptly squandered.

College games are nice, but you’re buying one of those teams out of a home game. I’d be curious to see what the ND-Wisc game netted for the Park District.
 

Kliq

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All I say is I really like the name Soldier Field; it's poetic and harkens back to a different time in America where so many American's laid their lives down. On a cold December day it just sounds right. I'll be disappointed if the new stadium ends up being called like, Tesla Stadium or something.
 

Phil Plantier

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Yawn.

This is not the Pats moving to Hartford or the Niners to Santa Clara. It's less than an hour (with traffic) from Soldier Field to Arlington Heights. If the McCaskeys want to spend 6 billion or whatever building a new stadium, fine.

Bears have only played at Soldier Field since 1971. With a few years off for the renovations.

Chicago will get all the benefits of an iconic football team with none of the expenses. Win-win.
 

Bergs

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This is not the Pats moving to Hartford or the Niners to Santa Clara. It's less than an hour (with traffic) from Soldier Field to Arlington Heights. If the McCaskeys want to spend 6 billion or whatever building a new stadium, fine.
yeah, no.
 

Harry Hooper

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Distance between the Loop (State of Illinois Building) and Arlington Int'l Racecourse is about 6 miles shorter than Mass. State House to Gillette Stadium.
 
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Nator

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I have no real dog in the fight, except to say I've always loved the lakefront setting of Soldier Field. Been to the old one a few times, and the spaceship once. So many classic games from there in the 80's - Where's the fog going to come from from now? Heading far out into the 'burbs seems like a step back, but obviously footprint, luxury suites, amenities, etc. will all be vastly more desirable than the current stadium.
I was at the Pats game back in 2010 up in the 300's, facing the lake, as a blizzard sent icy shards of hate into my face fueled by a sub zero wind chill. It was a good view, since the Patriots won 36-7. My father-in-law, a Bears fan, did not have as much fun as I did.
 

PseuFighter

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I wouldn't be shocked if this falls through, like lots of these deals/threats, whatever. Having been a bunch, I think Soldier Field is perfectly fine. Seats are very close to field, all over. Problem is there's zero way to increase capacity given how they rebuilt the current structure within the shell of the old one. If they had a way to somehow increase capacity (like redo the club side, maybe), plus let the Bears run more of the facility, there's probably a path to keeping them there.
 

tims4wins

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I was at the Pats game back in 2010 up in the 300's, facing the lake, as a blizzard sent icy shards of hate into my face fueled by a sub zero wind chill. It was a good view, since the Patriots won 36-7. My father-in-law, a Bears fan, did not have as much fun as I did.
I went to a preseason game in either 2009 or 2010 there, and had to wear jeans and a sweatshirt. To a preseason game. In August.
 

lexrageorge

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Yep definitely in jeans and a sweatshirt for the June Giants game I went to several years back
That's a warm night for summer in San Francisco. In the old Candlestick, a winter parka, hat and gloves would sometimes be warranted (not an exaggeration).
 

Old Fart Tree

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The Yay Area
However this take might age badly if every Sunday afternoon features drunken 300lb Bears fans wandering from the nearby downtown area into my lawn to pass out after a 31-3 loss to Green Bay.
Narrator: It will.

I think that's a bummer though; Soldier Field is what it is, but it's cool having a stadium right on the water inside the city.
 

RSN Diaspora

molests goats for comedy
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I think large cities have begun to realize what a loser stadium deals tend to be, especially for football where the venue sits vacant but for a few days a year. I live near RFK Stadium in DC and the only real municipal issue I've ever lobbied my city councilman on is resisting plans to build a new stadium on the site to lure the Landover Racialslurs back into the city.
 

axx

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I wouldn't be shocked if this falls through, like lots of these deals/threats, whatever.
Kind of figure that the Bears are definitely going since they bought the land. If they were to stay, what do they do with the land? Flip it?
 

BusRaker

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Kind of figure that the Bears are definitely going since they bought the land. If they were to stay, what do they do with the land? Flip it?
I'd say they could put their practice facility there ahead of time if they didn't just spend a bunch of money on their current one (Halas Hall). Looks like Lake Forest to Arlington Heights is a much shorter commute in case a player accidentally left his lucky jock strap there.
 
Jul 15, 2005
3,300
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I think large cities have begun to realize what a loser stadium deals tend to be, especially for football where the venue sits vacant but for a few days a year. I live near RFK Stadium in DC and the only real municipal issue I've ever lobbied my city councilman on is resisting plans to build a new stadium on the site to lure the Landover Racialslurs back into the city.
These stadiums need a constant stream of Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen concerts to really pay off. Just the National Corn Grower's Annual Conference won't do.
 

PseuFighter

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Kind of figure that the Bears are definitely going since they bought the land. If they were to stay, what do they do with the land? Flip it?
I don't know. I would imagine the purchase agreement includes a ton of closing conditions including the ability to build the stadium. Arlington Heights is a wealthy area iirc and have to imagine there are some unhappy residents today.
 

MetSox1

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I wouldn't be shocked if this falls through, like lots of these deals/threats, whatever. Having been a bunch, I think Soldier Field is perfectly fine. Seats are very close to field, all over. Problem is there's zero way to increase capacity given how they rebuilt the current structure within the shell of the old one. If they had a way to somehow increase capacity (like redo the club side, maybe), plus let the Bears run more of the facility, there's probably a path to keeping them there.
Is capacity that big a deal anymore? We're seeing declining attendance in most sports, and most of the revenue stream is TV money. Now the other property development around the stadium, and pending how sweetheart a deal it is, that's real. My money is on this being more posturing for concessions from Chicago, but who knows. And maybe that's more hope than anything else.
 
Jul 15, 2005
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It's as if the Tribune only found ppl who loved the move
Arlington Heights appears ready to welcome Chicago Bears - Chicago Tribune

Tim Grodek, owner of Peggy Kinnane’s Irish Restaurant and Pub at Vail Avenue and Campbell Street, said a move by the Bears to Arlington Heights, “could only do great things for the economy out here.”
Across the street at Armand’s Pizzeria, owner Michael Caringella was equally enthusiastic.
“I’m sorry the track closed, because I loved it, but bringing the Bears here will be great for the community, the businesses, for everyone. It’s a win-win, and I don’t know when it will happen, but I’m all for it,” Caringella said.
Moira Palmer, who lives just northeast of Arlington Park, said she is excited about the prospect of being able to walk to Bears games.
“My kids have already been texting us ‘party at the Palmers’ house every weekend,’ ” she said.
Except for a few:
But Arlington Heights resident Shannon Distel said she’s “not looking forward to the traffic and construction.”
“I would have been happier if they were using the site for more affordable housing and green space, but I do think bringing the Bears here will be good for the community, and from what I’ve heard, they’ve outgrown Soldier Field,” Distel said.
 

Ale Xander

killed off Vin Scully
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Yawn.

This is not the Pats moving to Hartford or the Niners to Santa Clara. It's less than an hour (with traffic) from Soldier Field to Arlington Heights. If the McCaskeys want to spend 6 billion or whatever building a new stadium, fine.

Bears have only played at Soldier Field since 1971. With a few years off for the renovations.

Chicago will get all the benefits of an iconic football team with none of the expenses. Win-win.
I lived in Arlington Heights in 2009, worked in Palatine. I never got to enjoy Chicago because traffic was such a disaster. Did get to see Manny once for the dodgers in Milwaukee as it was quicker to get there than Wrigley (or even more so Comiskey)

less than an hour is usually bulls$@t

and I do not miss the red light cameras there.
There was a nice fairly priced grocery store that I forget the name. And every chain store in Schaumburg you can think of.

but getting to Rosemont or more Southeast (and back) was a friggin pain
 

Phil Plantier

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I lived in Arlington Heights in 2009, worked in Palatine. I never got to enjoy Chicago because traffic was such a disaster. Did get to see Manny once for the dodgers in Milwaukee as it was quicker to get there than Wrigley (or even more so Comiskey)

less than an hour is usually bulls$@t

and I do not miss the red light cameras there.
There was a nice fairly priced grocery store that I forget the name. And every chain store in Schaumburg you can think of.

but getting to Rosemont or more Southeast (and back) was a friggin pain
Apologies, that was a quick look on Google maps from me, but I do know that that road, in particular, can be hellish at times.
 

Hoya81

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Oh, they’ll never actually recoup the lost Bears revenue, though the fee to break the lease will be a nice windfall that will be promptly squandered.

College games are nice, but you’re buying one of those teams out of a home game. I’d be curious to see what the ND-Wisc game netted for the Park District.
Northwestern doesn't have the ability to play home games at night and might benefit from hosting a game or two there. They could also create new bowl game (like the Fenway or Pinstripe Bowls). The Big 10 Championship's deal with Lucas Oil Stadium expires this year as well.
 

Senator Donut

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Northwestern doesn't have the ability to play home games at night and might benefit from hosting a game or two there. They could also create new bowl game (like the Fenway or Pinstripe Bowls). The Big 10 Championship's deal with Lucas Oil Stadium expires this year as well.
I don’t think NU has permanent lighting, but they’ve hosted night games for a few years now.
 

67YAZ

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Trib reporting that the deal is for $197.2m. That's wild.

But my guess is that the Bears negotiated a number of outs in the deal which is reflected in the price tag. And Churchill Downs will be able to move the property pretty easily even if the deal falls through. It's right on the Metra. A mixed-used development like the Glen on the old Glenview Naval Air Base would make a developer money.
 

jose melendez

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I think large cities have begun to realize what a loser stadium deals tend to be, especially for football where the venue sits vacant but for a few days a year. I live near RFK Stadium in DC and the only real municipal issue I've ever lobbied my city councilman on is resisting plans to build a new stadium on the site to lure the Landover Racialslurs back into the city.
Where you live, that's a real issue of local concern too. Building a football staidum on the old RFK site is probably the dumbest use of the land I can think of. Pretty much all of the studies show that stadium deals where the city puts in money are net losers, when you control for the idea of public spending on something else on the site. But I can at least see the argument of baseball or basketball/hockey stadiums. I have never bought the idea that a football stadium is a gain, and in dense urban areas with high land demand, it's almost certainly a loss even if it's privately financed.
 

RSN Diaspora

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Where you live, that's a real issue of local concern too. Building a football staidum on the old RFK site is probably the dumbest use of the land I can think of. Pretty much all of the studies show that stadium deals where the city puts in money are net losers, when you control for the idea of public spending on something else on the site. But I can at least see the argument of baseball or basketball/hockey stadiums. I have never bought the idea that a football stadium is a gain, and in dense urban areas with high land demand, it's almost certainly a loss even if it's privately financed.
I had this discussion with a friend the other night whose office just moved near Nats Park—as much as football is America’s biggest driver of sports revenue, there’s an inverse relationship to stadium value. We saw what the Capital One Arena (then-MCI Center) did for a previously dicey Chinatown in DC (and it was privately financed) and we saw what Nationals Park did for the Navy Yard, which was an epic shithole before DC decided to build a baseball stadium. Eight Sundays a year and the occasional concert can’t begin to compare.
 
Jul 15, 2005
3,300
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Chicago Bears threaten to leave town, and this time politicians shrug - Chicago Tribune

“Whether it’s on the lakefront or in Arlington Heights, it’s just redistributing where the money is spent in the greater Chicago area. The net economic impact isn’t worth measuring,” [Allen] Sanderson said of a Bears stadium. “There are not tourists coming to Chicago in December to watch the Bears play. Virtually everybody is local.”
Unless the Bears are moving to the far South Side, this won't be a economic regeneration project for the city. The park district will just have to find new uses/tenants for Soldier Field. (Move part of Lolla into Soldier Field? More Blackhawks games?) The downtown area is already quite developed, and new developments won't be leaving if the Bears leave downtown. Although the potential emptying of downtown office spaces might be giving Lightfoot and Co indigestion - that is on top of other budget issues Lightfoot and Pritzker has to deal with.
 

Ale Xander

killed off Vin Scully
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They need to demolish Soldier Field and build a multi-use mini-neighborhood development.

Or move the Cubs home there

/ducks
 

67YAZ

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They need to demolish Soldier Field and build a multi-use mini-neighborhood development.

Or move the Cubs home there

/ducks
Tough one. There’s long standing agreement that there is no new development east of Lake Shore Drive. Five years ago, the proposed George Lucas Star Wars Props Museum couldn’t get done on the parking lot south of Soldier Field after advocacy groups sued to enforce the quasi-ban despite the mayors best efforts to make it happen. Not sure who else would have the political clout and cash to burn to pursue another project there.
 
Jul 15, 2005
3,300
Chicago
They need to demolish Soldier Field and build a multi-use mini-neighborhood development.

Or move the Cubs home there

/ducks
The city can't even figure out development on the area west of Soldier Field and above the Metra line, let alone the environmental risks a residential area faces that close to the lake.
 

Ale Xander

killed off Vin Scully
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Tough one. There’s long standing agreement that there is no new development east of Lake Shore Drive. Five years ago, the proposed George Lucas Star Wars Props Museum couldn’t get done on the parking lot south of Soldier Field after advocacy groups sued to enforce the quasi-ban despite the mayors best efforts to make it happen. Not sure who else would have the political clout and cash to burn to pursue another project there.
Ditka, Singletary and Harbaugh?


too bad sweetness is no longer with us