When the Bears hired Kevin Warren, they hired the best person in the world to run point on their future stadium hopes.
Warren is a well-known, well-connected businessman, praised for his negotiating, outside-the-box-thinking, transparency and business-savvy skillset. He has a multitude of experiences, most notably, his leadership in constructing U.S. Bank Stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.
On top of that, he brings a load of ambition to the table.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
"I want us to build the most advanced, most progressive stadium project ever on the planet," Warren said of the Bears stadium plans to The Athletic. "I want people and corporations to come and say, 'Let’s spend some time at the Bears because they are a forward-thinking, innovative company.'"
He added another eye-popping caveat to his hopes and dreams for his newfound team.
"And I want to win Super Bowl trophies. Why not us? You know, why not?"
The Bears haven't had a Lombardi Trophy since 1985. As for a new stadium, well, the Bears haven't had a new one of those ever. Unless you count the times the Bears played at Wrigley Field or collegiate stadiums during renovations to Soldier Field, their home has always been on Chicago's Lakefront/Museum campus.
Warren has the opportunity to change that.
The Bears handed Warren the project after they closed on the 326-acre land in Arlington Heights for $197.2 million last February. Warren started in April, taking over for Ted Phillips and running point on the job of making the Bears stadium aspirations come true.
As it stands, the Bears have backed up from Arlington Heights and opened their options to other locations. Due to an impasse on tax property valuations, the Bears announced the Arlington Park location is no longer the team's "singular focus."
Here's the statement the Bears released on June 16.
"The Chicago Bears goal of building the largest single development project in Illinois history led by billions of dollars in private capital investment, and the jobs and economic benefits generated, is at risk in Arlington Heights. The stadium-based project remains broadly popular in Arlington Heights, Chicagoland and the state. However, the property’s original assessment at five times the 2021 tax value, and the recent settlement with Churchill Downs for 2022 being three times higher, fails to reflect the property is not operational and not commercially viable in its current state. We will continue the ongoing demolition activity and work toward a path forward in Arlington Heights, but it is no longer our singular focus. It is our responsibility to listen to other municipalities in Chicagoland about potential locations that can deliver on this transformational opportunity for our fans, our club and the State of Illinois."
Since the Bears placed an "open for business" sign-up for a stadium location, multiple municipalities have reached out with their interest.
Naperville, Aurora and Waukegan are the known suburbs to reach out to the Bears with their interest. Warren and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson also released a joint statement about their mutual connection.
Despite the setbacks the stadium project has endured thus far, the Bears should have confidence knowing they have Warren at the helm running point on the venture.