CHICAGO – A panel appointed by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has recommended exploring Soldier Fields as part of an effort to persuade Chicago Bears to stay at their lakefront home instead of moving to the suburbs.
The panel recommended selling the naming rights and installing synthetic turf, as well as increasing the capacity of the stadium with minimal space in the NFL. Adding a roof or dome could attract more concerts like the Super Bowl and the Final Four.
“While significant investments are required to close the military sector, it is important to fully understand the full range of potential funding sources to determine specific costs, potential direct and indirect economic effects, and options that honor Chicago taxpayers. Further analysis is needed,” The Panel said. ,
The group’s work is part of a larger proposal that includes the Field Museum, the Shed Aquarium, the Adler Star and the McCormick Place Lakefront Building. This includes better transportation and making the premises more bike friendly.
Soldier field recommendations can also be seen as an attempt to eliminate defects if there is foliage on the lightfoot.
After joining Churchill Downs Inc., the Bears took a step toward leaving Soldier Field in September 2021. It also signed a खरेदी 197.2 million buy-and-sell agreement (PSA) for a 326-acre Arlington Park property in suburban Arlington Heights, which included well-runners. Racing had been put up for sale since 1927. The Arlington Park site is 30 miles northwest of Soldier Field.
“The only potential project to develop a new stadium for the Chicago Bears is Arlington Park,” the Bears said in a statement released Friday. “As part of our mutual agreement with the seller of that property, while we are under contract, we do not pursue alternative stadium deals or sites, including the renovation of Soldier Field. We have informed the City of Chicago that we would like to honor our contract commitment as we continue our due diligence and pre-development activities on the Arlington Heights property. Meanwhile, we are committed to fulfilling our Permit Operating Agreement (PoA) on the military sector. To this end, we have a strong working relationship with New Chicago Park District Superintendent Rosa Escareno, her staff and the ASM Global Management Team. ,
At a meeting of NFL owners in March, Bears president George McCaskey reiterated that the team is in the early stages of deciding how to develop the land in Arlington Park.
Team President Ted Phillips said the deal would not close until early 2023, at which time the organization would decide “whether it is financially feasible to try to develop it further.”
The bear belt at Soldier Field – his home from 1971 – runs until 2033. The GO 690 million conversion of the Chicago Park District-owned stadium in 2002 forced the team to play home games at the University of Illinois at Champagne and eventually lost the National Historic Landmark designation.
The interior was torn down, replaced by a flying saucer, a glass-dominated structure built on the famous Greek and Romanesque colonnades. The genre clash sparked widespread criticism and the renewal brought the Bears Games to 61,500 seats, the lowest in the NFL.
In March, McCaskey reported “tremendous collaboration” with both Soldier Field and nearby Wrigley Field, where the Bears played for 50 years before moving to the Lakefront.
Contributed by: ESPN Bears Reporter Courtney Cronin