Arlington Heights

A timeline of the Bears stadium pursuit in Arlington Heights

The Bears are at a crossroads with Arlington Heights about the assessed value of the property.

Share
NBC Universal, Inc.

On Friday, the Bears released a statement claiming their stadium plans at Arlington Heights, specifically, is no longer the organization's "singular focus."

MORE: Bears say Arlington Heights stadium ‘no longer singular focus'

A spokesperson for Naperville confirmed Mayor Scott Wehrli "reached out to the Chicago Bears organization to introduce it as a thriving community with multiple opportunities for business investment."

Now that the Bears are opening their options for a new geographical location for the stadium plans, it begs the question --- how did they get here? 

Here's a look back at the Bears' journey seeking a new stadium location dating back to their bid on Arlington Park. 

June 17, 2021: The Bears placed an official bid down for the land in Arlington Heights. The land is 326 acres large. 

Sept. 29, 2021: On this date, the Bears signed a purchase agreement with Churchill Downs Inc., agreeing to purchase the land at a high price of $197.2 million. 

July 25, 2022: Lori Lightfoot and the city of Chicago unveil three avenues the Park District could pave for Soldier Field. The most significant idea is to construct the aforementioned dome atop Soldier Field. The other options were making the stadium "dome ready" or converting the stadium into a multi-purpose field for their anchor tenant, the Chicago Fire. 

Sep. 8, 2022: The Bears hold a town hall meeting at John Hersey High School with the Arlington Heights community to discuss "one of the largest development projects in Illinois state history."

Nov. 7, 2022: Hart Howerton releases a rendering of the stadium location and a full-scale design and plan for the surrounding areas. 

Nov. 10, 2022: Arlington Heights Village manager Randy Racklaus told NBC Sports Chicago "It is very possible there will be no additional information on this project until the Chicago Bears Football Club makes a decision and an announcement on whether or not they will purchase the property."

Feb. 15, 2023: The Bears closed on the land in Arlington Heights for the agreed price. Their closure on the matter opened the team up to speaking with other municipalities about their stadium ventures and other opportunities. Most notably, the city of Chicago. 

Feb. 21, 2023: Lori Lightfoot voices her determination to speak with the Bears and persuade them to remain in Chicago. She admits she and George McCaskey have spoken on the matter. 

May 18, 2023: Bears fight to lower the assessed value of the land in an attempt to decrease their annual tax bill. As mentioned in the Bears' most recent statement, the Bears and the schools of Arlington Heights were far apart in assessing the land. Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi’s office valued the land at $197 million, the price the Bears paid. That sets the tax bill at ~$16 million per year for the Bears. 

MORE: Proposed Bears stadium bills remain sidelined

May 26, 2023: The Bears received a permit to begin demolition at Arlington Park, in an attempt to drop the value of the land and alleviate their tax bill. 

June 2, 2023: The Bears announce Arlington Heights is no longer a "singular focus" for their stadium plans. They say the assessed property value "fails to reflect the property is not operational and not commercially viable in its current state." In addition, a spokesperson for Naperville confirmed Mayor Scott Wehrli "reached out to the Chicago Bears organization to introduce it as a thriving community with multiple opportunities for business investment."

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us