Bears Stadium

List of all cities and towns trying to woo Bears away from Arlington Heights

As negotiations between the Bears and Arlington Heights become more contentious, other cities are trying to swoop

NBC Universal, Inc.

Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard.

When Bears president/CEO spoke on Monday about the team’s future at Arlington Heights, it underlined the arduous process ahead for both the team and the town before development begins in earnest at Arlington Park.

Right now, the two sides are in the middle of a public squabble over the property value of the Bears’ new piece of land, which has a big impact on how much the Bears will pay in property taxes. 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. Understandable, since they’ve already begun demolishing buildings on the property and won’t be able to use the land for any commercial purposes for years to come. 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.

It still makes the most sense for the Bears to stick in Arlington Heights since they already shelled out nearly $200 million to buy Arlington Park. If they decided to move and buy a new property, it’d be awfully hard to recoup the same value by flipping Arlington Park just a few years later, and with fewer buildings on site due to the demolition they’ve already begun. If Arlington Heights plays hard ball too hard and pushes the Bears out, then they’d also miss out on an incredible opportunity to raise the profile and values of properties and businesses in their town.

Not getting a deal done would be a colossal misstep for both sides.

And yet, other cities and towns have thrown their names in the ring as the Bears and Arlington Heights dig their heels in as part of negotiations. Here are those cities and towns who hope to take advantage just in case things really do fall apart.


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, the Bears have tried to convince the team to stay at Soldier Field with fancy renderings of possible renovations. New mayor Brandon Johnson has also met with the team. A deal shouldn’t happen unless the city decides to sell the team the land and the stadium. To give you and idea of how serious the Bears are about staying in Chicago check out the ENTIRETY of the team’s joint statement with Johnson about the meeting:

“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.”

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