Arlington Heights

Bears to begin exterior demolition on Arlington Park Friday. What they say that means

The team is set to begin "external demolition" at the Arlington Heights site Friday, though officials cautioned the move may not mean what some might think

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While much has been said about the Bears' decision to consider other locations outside of Arlington Heights for their new stadium, it appears some plans are still moving forward at Arlington Park.

The team is set to begin "external demolition" at the site Friday, though officials cautioned the move may not mean what some might think.

"The demolition does not mean the property will be developed," the team said in a release.

The Bears have already begun interior demolition at Arlington Park and had sought permission to do exterior demolition. The village of Arlington Heights said it approved the permits for the second phase, which will include demolition of the exterior buildings, including the grandstands at the park and isn't expected to finish for several months.

"Demolition will take place in phases over several months and detonation will not be used," the village said. "It is anticipated that demolition will be completed in December 2023. Increased truck traffic due to the demolition is possible in the area and the property will continue to be monitored by security 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."

In a twist earlier this month, the team said its plans for a stadium in Arlington Heights were "at risk" due to a property tax dispute.

A recent property and tax assessment laid spikes in the road for continued progress at the site. The Bears assess the value of the land around $33 million. But during a triennial reassessment, Assessor Fritz Kaegi’s office placed the value at $197 million. Their valuation would stick the Bears with an expensive tax bill of around $16 million annually.

Since then, the Bears announced Arlington Heights was no longer their singular focus.

Other suburbs, including Waukegan and Naperville have reached out in hopes of luring the team to their cities.

The village of Arlington Heights released a statement after news of the Bears' exploration first broke, saying it "has always expected that the club would explore any and all viable locations as part of their due diligence process."

The village went on to tout the benefits of the Arlington Park location, such as having a dedicated Metra station and easy access to O'Hare Airport as well as Interstate 90 and Route 53.

"It is clear that the Chicago Bears Football Club understands the unique potential of this site, as evidenced by their recent purchase of the property," the statement continued. "The Village is committed to work with the club and all other regional stakeholders to continue to explore the potential redevelopment of this site and to work through the inevitable challenges that come with any large development effort."

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