Bears Stadium

Where do things stand with the Bears stadium saga? Latest on Arlington Heights, Chicago plans

The site of the team's next stadium is still up in the air

NBC Universal, Inc.

As fans turn their attention away from the offseason, to the upcoming 2024 campaign, one of the biggest questions we see has nothing to do with the team or the players. Many people are curious where the Bears will play.

For now, the answer’s easy: Soldier Field. But if things work out according to the team’s plans they could be moving soon. For the past several years the Bears have been working on plans to build a new stadium. Over the years those plans have changed.

Here’s where things stand now.

In February 2023, the team bought Arlington Park for nearly $200 million. At the time, the idea was that the over 300-acre property would be the site of the next Bears stadium. However, the Bears cautioned that they needed to do more due diligence before developing the property. That included getting “property tax certainty.” That certainty never came, as the team began negotiations with local school boards.

Shortly afterwards, the Bears transitioned from outgoing president/CEO Ted Phillips to new boss Kevin Warren. It didn’t take Warren long to shift the team’s sights from the suburbs back to the city. Finally, in April 2024, the Bears released new plans to build a new stadium just south of Soldier Field.

That plan called for the Bears and the NFL to cover about half of the expected $5 billion deal, with the public funding the rest. However, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker made it clear the state wasn’t sold on the idea. His press secretary called the plan a “non-starter for the state.”

In addition, local preservation group "Friends of the Parks" (FOTP), expressed their skepticism with the plan.

"As it stands, [the plan] still feels a little vague, but we always come back to public use,” said acting executive director Gin Kilgore earlier this month. “Is this a real public benefit? And, does it fall within our expectations? We not be having this conversation if people hadn’t fought hard to keep private development off the lakefront. That’s what it’s always going to come back to for us.”

FOTP successfully prevented George Lucas from building a museum on the lakefront back in 2016.

Meanwhile, the team appears to be in a holding pattern with their property in Arlington Park too. When the Bears first began negotiations with local school boards, the two sides were $100 million apart on the value of the land. The two sides drew closer in March, but the Bears reportedly rejected a proposal from the local schools. Eventually the Cook County Board of Review set its valuation of the property at $125 million, and according to the Chicago Tribune, the team filed a property tax appeal.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us