As the Chicago Bears continue to explore potential options to build a stadium and entertainment district in suburban Arlington Heights, the team will hold an informational meeting with residents on Thursday evening.
The meeting, the first since the team was chosen to put together a purchase of the former Arlington International Racecourse, comes on the heels of a big announcement by the team, as they unveiled the first renderings of what a potential stadium district could look like.
Here’s what we know about Thursday’s meeting.
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The meeting will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and will take place at the John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. The meeting will take place in the gymnasium.
Parking lots will open at 5 p.m., and doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Seating will be available on a first come, first serve basis.
What Will be Discussed:
According to the team, management will be on hand to deliver remarks, and preliminary plans will be discussed to build a “mixed-use entertainment district,” which would be anchored by a state-of-the-art stadium at the location.
What We Know About the Project:
Details on the proposed stadium have not been revealed, but if approved the Bears would purchase the site of Arlington International Racecourse and would build a “fully enclosed” stadium at the site.
In addition, the Bears would seek to build a large entertainment district around the venue, complete with restaurants, bars, performance spaces and a variety of other features that the team says would be accessible year-round.
The team called the project one of the largest proposed construction projects in the history of the state.
The Bears also revealed that they would not seek public financing for the stadium itself, but that they could potentially negotiate with Arlington Heights officials to seek financing for other portions of the proposed site.
According to a press release, the team says that the project could create 48,000 temporary construction jobs and nearly 10,000 long-term jobs around the site, generating more than $9.4 billion in total economic impact.
The team says that negotiations remain underway for purchase of the site, but cautioned that even if they have an approved deal in place that a stadium would not be a guarantee due to other negotiations that would need to take place.
The city of Chicago has attempted to negotiate with the Bears on improvements to Soldier Field, but under terms of the agreement reached with Arlington Heights, the club says that they are solely focused on the new suburban project.