The Bears and Arlington Park have come to an agreement on the purchase of the latter’s land.
In Arlington Heights, Illinois, the Bears have agreed to buy the Arlington International Racecourse property, according to The Athletic. The 326-acre property is being purchased by the Bears for $197.2 million, the team announced on Wednesday morning.
“This move does not come as a surprise to us. According to a statement provided to The Athletic by a spokesperson for the mayor’s office on Tuesday, “we remain committed” to working to keep the Bears in Chicago. This is just a commercial choice for both the Bears and the city, however. Last weekend, Soldier Field held the Shamrock Series, which was lucrative for the Chicago Park District and local business. Soldier Field inked a huge contract with the Chicago Fire this season and just last weekend.
As the Mayor has stated numerous times, the City and Park District must investigate all options to enhance the visitor and fan experience at Soldier Field year-round while also maximizing profits. Examples like these show that Soldier Field is a highly sought-after site. As a result, we must act in our taxpayers’ best interests and maximize the financial benefits of Soldier Field, a vital asset. According to the Mayor, “our door in City Hall remains open to engage bears multiple times.”
“My position on the Bears still stands: my administration remains dedicated to continuing the work to keep the team in Chicago,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot stated in a tweet later that day. We have said it before and we will say it again: City Hall’s door is always open.
A purchase and sale agreement (PSA) was finalized for Arlington Park on Wednesday morning, Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips revealed on the team website.
The Village of Arlington Heights and Mayor Tom Hayes have also been supportive. It was necessary for us to complete the PSA before moving further into the property’s investigation. To seal this deal, we still have a lot of work to do, including working closely with the Village of Arlington Heights and the neighboring areas.
The accord had the backing of Arlington Heights’ mayor as well. Mr. Tom Hayes said in a statement, “I could not be more delighted about the news that the Chicago Bears have signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement to purchase the Arlington Park land in our town.
The Bears made an offer to buy Arlington International Racecourse on June 17th.
President Ted Phillips of the team stated in a statement that “it’s our job to examine every available alternative” to make sure the team was doing what was best for the organization and its future. “This phase, if chosen, allows us to assess the property and its prospects in greater depth.”
However, according to the Chicago Tribune, if the Bears break their agreement in 2026, they will owe the city $84 million. The Bears’ lease at Soldier Field continues until 2033. Upon the expiration of 2026, the financial penalty will no longer exist.
An estimated $2.2 billion will be spent on the league’s seven newest stadiums, according to the study.
Lightfoot described the Bears’ offer as “a negotiation strategy” at the time.
We are determined to retain the ‘Chicago’ name on our football team as season ticket holders, “she stated. It is our hope that the organization will focus on fielding a winning squad, beating the Packers, and remaining relevant well beyond October, as most Bears fans do. There’s no point in worrying about anything else.
Both of WBEZ’s recent reports on the Bears-Chicago Park District conflict were released last week. A story claims that Phillips “asked for engineering reports addressing the infrastructure” of Soldier Field during a meeting in April. According to Michael Kelly, head of the City of Chicago Park District, Phillips sent him a “propensity for historical assertions.”
When the Chicago Bears inquired about the possibility of opening a sportsbook near Soldier Field in early June, Phillips charged that the Chicago Park District refused “to engage in good faith conversations.”
Lightfoot told the Chicago Sun-Times he was a “Bears fan” during a meeting. Chicago should be able to keep the Bears. And we’re open to collaborating with them to find a solution to their problems. This has to be done, but not at the expense of other uses of that stadium.
“We’re looking into ways to make the fan experience at Soldier Field better,” the team said. I’m aware that things could be done better. Soldier Field’s fan experience pales in comparison to that of other stadiums across the country, which I’ve visited.
The sale should be completed by the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023.
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