While the Chicago Bears did not unveil any new renderings of their proposed stadium in suburban Arlington Heights during a public meeting Thursday, they did provide an important detail, saying that the roof of the facility will likely be permanently in place.
During the Q & A session at the end of the meeting, Bears President Ted Phillips cited the costs and maintenance of a retractable roof when saying that the team is planning to have a permanent structure in place.
“We’re not anticipating a retractable dome,” Phillips said. “The costs are prohibitive. The return (on investment) isn’t there.”
Previously, the team had announced that their intention was to build an “enclosed” stadium on the property as a way to attract massive events like the Super Bowl, Final Four and College Football National Championship game.
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Currently, four NFL stadiums have retractable roofs, including the homes of the Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons.
If the Bears were to build a stadium with a permanent roof, they would join the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings in that group, and Phillips cited the Vikings’ home at Bank of America Stadium as an example the team could potentially emulate.
The team’s president pointed to the use of glass in the roof of the structure to allow in more natural light, and said the team would likely pursue a similar strategy in the construction of their stadium.
The Bears first revealed aspects of their community plan on Tuesday, but conspicuously did not include any images of a stadium. The team says it is still working on those designs, and expects to reveal them at another community meeting around the time of the 2023 Super Bowl in February.
The entire project could take an estimated 10 years to complete, including the stadium and surrounding entertainment district, and said that the deal to purchase the property could be completed by the end of the year.
The Bears are also not engaged in any other discussions for stadiums, including with the city of Chicago, and said they are solely focused on building a new complex in Arlington Heights.