The Chicago Bears said Friday they are thinking about abandoning their current plan to build a new stadium in nearby Arlington Heights and are considering looking at other locations.
This comes despite the team already buying the Arlington Heights land for $197.2 million.
The Bears are citing a property assessment they said is too high, so the area is “no longer our singular focus.”
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“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,” the team said.
“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.”
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The Bears said in September they would not seek public funding for the construction of the stadium, but they expect to for the surrounding “entertainment district.”
The Bears envision the entertainment district to include restaurants, offices, a hotel, fitness center and more “that will provide considerable economic benefits to Cook County.”
The city of Chicago proposed last summer enclosing Soldier Field and increasing its capacity from a league-low 61,500, but the Bears repeatedly insisted that the only possibilities they were considering were for the Arlington Heights site.
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The Bears remain committed to their current lease on Soldier Field, which has been their home since 1974.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and Scott Thompson, and the Associated Press, contributed to this report.