Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Bears Hopes Of A Chicago Lakefront Stadium Faces A Steep Challenge

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The stadium issues are suddenly silent. The Chicago Bears are hoping to work with the city of Chicago to build a publicly-owned stadium to be built just south of Soldier Field. Kevin Warren and the village of Arlington Heights are still jockeying positions with the original plan to build a mega-complex in the northwest suburb still on the table.

Recent revelations on both sites came to light in March. The Bears announced a grand plan to provide $2 Billion in funds to help build a lakefront stadium. Our lead writer, Erik Lambert, wrote about last month’s lakefront stadium plan. You can read his article here.

Arlington Heights Still in the Mix

In what could easily be explained as a last-ditch effort to save the project in the suburbs, the mayor of Arlington Heights announced a series of tax breaks to help the Bears if they would return to the original plans of their stadium that would be constructed on the 326-acre parcel where Arlington Park Race Track once stood. Had the proposal been brought forward 6 months sooner, it could have been enough to get construction started in the summer of 2023.

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Major Opposition Looming For The Lakefront Stadium Idea.

When Kevin Warren first announced the idea of the lakefront stadium project, the Friends of the Park Organization immediately voiced their objection to the project. They suggested the team should consider the property located several miles south of Soldier Field where the Michael Reese Hospital complex once stood.

The bigger concern is the Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance.

The ordinance limits what new construction would be allowed in the area where the city and the Bears want to build the new stadium.

Several years ago, there were plans to construct the Lucas Museum in the Grant Park area. Restrictions due to the restriction provided by the Protection Ordinance and the interference from the Friends of the Park caused the Lucas Museum plan to relocate from Chicago to Los Angeles.

When Kevin Warren was hired in April of 2023 he said that he hoped to have a final decision in approximately one year. This past January, he reiterated that timeline. It is April now, so we are expecting to hear a definitive answer to a stadium location at any time.

8 COMMENTS

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Byron
Byron
Apr 3, 2024 6:23 am

Liked that BearCub30

nonobaddog
nonobaddog
Apr 2, 2024 4:26 pm

Do you really think the Bears are going to commit $2 billion to a publicly owned stadium? The idea of their own stadium is what started this whole fiasco, they wanted their own so they could profit from all the ancillary income opportunities it would provide. The lakefront idea is nothing but a ploy to get taxes to the level they want in Arlington Heights.

Bear_Down
Bear_Down
Apr 2, 2024 4:01 pm

BearCub30: The answer to your question is Friends of the Park is an organization comprised of mostly wealthy and well-heeled citizens of Chicago who live in high rises downtown and want clear unobstructed views of the lake from their residences. They smacked George Lucas in the ass and sent him packing back to LA when he wanted to build his Star Wars Museum along the lakefront. I was bummed when that happened. I can understand their argument and they do have a valid argument to make. They want to keep open spaces along the lakefront and not make a mess… Read more »

David
Apr 2, 2024 3:46 pm

While I would rather the stadium to be built in Chicago on the lakefront, there’s way too many hurdles to jump, along with several lawsuits that will draw the entire project out likely years. With that being said my vote is AH. They own the land and it’s a handsome piece of real estate where they would be able to build several businesses around it as well. This could really make it a neat experience to go to a game. Being right next to the train also helps a lot as well. People in Chicago won’t even need to drive… Read more »

Rocketrider
Rocketrider
Apr 2, 2024 3:00 pm

Building anything in Chicago is a cluster of politics and payoffs. Completely bad idea. The park district can’t even get decent grass to grow in Soldier field. Wouldn’t want them anywhere near a new stadium. AH needs to put their hands back in their greedy pockets before they are completely out of the picture. The only other thing the land would be used for would be subdivisions. Wouldn’t bring in near the tax $$ and then they would have to build more schools. Morons running the show.

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