Bears sign purchase deal for property at Arlington Park
The Chicago Bears took a significant step toward leaving their longtime home at Soldier Field.
The Bears and Churchill Downs Inc. announced Wednesday they have signed a $197.2 million purchase and sale agreement (PSA) for the 326-acre property in suburban Arlington Heights, Ill.
“Finalizing the PSA was the critical next step in continuing our exploration of the property and its potential,” Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips said. “Much work remains to be completed, including working closely with the Village of Arlington Heights and surrounding communities, before we can close on this transaction.
“Our goal is to chart a path forward that allows our team to thrive on the field, Chicagoland to prosper from this endeavor, and the Bears organization to be ensured a strong future. We will never stop working toward delivering Bears fans the very best experience. We will continue to provide updates on our progress at the appropriate time.”
Churchill Downs Inc. said it is expecting to close the deal in late 2022 or early 2023.
The Bears have called Soldier Field their home since 1971. Their lease runs through 2033, although the Chicago Tribune reported the team could break the lease by paying a fee of $84 million as early as 2026.
Soldier Field also has the smallest capacity of any NFL venue at 61,500.
“I could not be more excited about the news that the Chicago Bears have signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement to buy the Arlington Park property in our community,” Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes said. “My goal for any redevelopment has always been to put this prime piece of real estate to its highest and best use, and I can’t think of a higher and better use than this one.
“There is a long way to go as we begin this journey, and many issues for the community to discuss, but the Village is committed to working with the Bears organization and all stakeholders to explore this opportunity for Arlington Heights and the northwest suburban region.”
–Field Level Media