Bears Stadium

Chicago mayor, Bears' Kevin Warren issue new statement with stadium plans in flux

The development comes as the team, including Warren, have insisted a new stadium is necessary, which would all but ensure the Bears will leave Chicago

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As the location of the Chicago Bears' new stadium remains in flux, a perplexing development has unfolded with the team's CEO, Kevin Warren, issuing a new joint statement with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson.

“We continued our productive discussion this week that began in early June," the brief statement read. "We plan to have regular dialogue with each other, and across our respective staffs, as we work together to meet the needs of the citizens of Chicago and Bears fans.”

The development comes as the team, including Warren, have insisted a new stadium is necessary, which would all but ensure the Bears will leave Chicago. It also comes as other Chicago-area mayors try to lure the stadium and the Bears to their suburb as talks between the team and Arlington Heights hit a snag.

"We do need a new home for the Chicago Bears,” Warren said at an Arlington Heights community meeting last month.

Right now, the Bears are at a stalemate with Arlington Heights. Both sides are unable come to an agreement on a fair property assessment, leading to a difference in annual tax value.

Here's a look at where things stand:


When Warren held community meetings about the team’s future at Arlington Heights last month, he made some noteworthy comments.

“We have to figure out if Arlington Heights is legitimately a viable option or is it not. This has nothing to do with personal feelings. This is strictly business," he said. "And I just want to make sure that we're all on the same page and figure out if this is something that will work."

The Bears paid just over $197 million to purchase the land earlier this year, but argue the value of the land should be assessed at $52 million. Churchill Downsー the former owners of the racetrackー and the local school districts reached an agreement for the value of the property to be set at $95 million for the 2022 tax bill. But that was a one year deal, so the Bears have to renegotiate to get the property assessment lowered again.

Still, the team has moved forward with demolishing the property, regardless of where talks stand.

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

Demolition is expected to continue through the end of the year.

“This is not about the Chicago Bears trying to come in and take advantage of everyone,” Warren said. “It’s the opposite. It’s about the Chicago Bears finding a partner.”

“Once we have a legitimate partner, we will move forward,” Warren said. “If that’s in Arlington Heights, great. If it’s somewhere else, that’s great too.”


The Southwest suburb was the first to jump at the chance to woo the Bears away from Arlington Heights. Mayor Scott Wehrli sent the Bears an open letter making a case for why Naperville would be such a great place for a stadium and Kevin Warren reportedly sat down to meet with Wehrli. The letter mentioned several “available or to be available” sites that may suit the Bears needs, but never specifically said what the town had in mind.


The latest city to make a case to host the new stadium. In their open letter to the team, Aurora boasted that it’s the second-largest city in the state. They also pointed to their ability to work together with businesses on big developments like their $360M deal with PENN Entertainment to relocate Hollywood Casino.


Waukegan pitched their town as a way for the Bears to stay close to the lake. The biggest sell may be that it’s close to Lake Forest where the Bears practice. Many players also live in the northern suburbs to be close to Halas Hall.


Meanwhile, Chicago has tried to convince the team to stay at Soldier Field with fancy renderings of possible renovations. Johnson has also met with the team.

In addition to their latest remarks, Warren and Johnson also released a joint statement in June.

“Today we met and discussed our shared values and commitment to the City of Chicago, the importance of deep roots and the need for equitable community investment throughout the city.  We are both committed to the idea that the city and its major civic institutions must grow and evolve together to meet the needs of the future.  We look forward to continuing the dialogue around these shared values.”


In a recent letter to Warren, Richton Park Mayor Rick Reinbold also made a pitch for the new stadium, according to the Chicago Tribune. The letter touted large expanses of available land and the south suburb’s proximity to highways and the Metra Electric Line.

“I understand how the complexity of completing a stadium deal at the former Arlington Park site can be frustrating,” Reinbold told Warren in the letter, which was reportedly sent last week. “Allow me to interest you in greenfield opportunities awaiting the Bears in Richton Park!”

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