The Chicago Bears are ready to make things official regarding their new stadium in Arlington Heights.
On September 1, the team announced it was set to hold “an informational community meeting to discuss the potential purchase and possible development of Arlington Park. The meeting will include opening remarks from team leadership and conceptual plans for a transit-oriented mixed-use entertainment district anchored by a stadium that would be one of the largest development projects in Illinois state history.”
The meeting will be held at the John Hersey High School’s gymnasium in Arlington Heights, and it’s a notable step forward in the process of the team’s plans to build a new stadium. It’s noteworthy because the Bears haven’t yet publicly admitted they’re building a new stadium in Arlington Heights and leaving Soldier Field, which has been their home turf since 1971.
One top insider following the team says that announcement is coming, however — likely before 2023 rolls around.
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Bears Insider: Bears’ Move to Arlington Heights Is ‘Matter of When, not If’
In an August 29 appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune said the team could announce the construction of a new stadium over the next several months.
“It’s a matter of when, and not if,” Biggs told McAfee. “They want to get out of Soldier Field … They’d like to control their own situation. That’s not going to happen overnight. But we could have an announcement maybe before the end of this calendar year.”
“We expect to get this ball rolling soon,” Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes told the Tribune in a separate interview, also noting the community planned on discussing the team’s proposal for a new stadium in the fall.
Hayes called the upcoming meeting, which he will not attend, “an encouraging sign,” and also gave his stamp of approval regarding the team’s plan thus far. “They’re increasing the speed of the project as we move forward toward making this a reality,” Hayes said about the Bears. “This is an opportunity to get initial feedback from the community, so it’s a very important and exciting part of the process.”
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Bears Set to Have New Team President in 2023
Chicago’s current CEO and President, Ted Phillips, announced his retirement on September 2, noting he plans to step down at the end of the 2022 season. Phillips has been the front man for the Bears when it comes to researching and bidding on the Arlington Heights property, and Dan Pompeii of The Athletic reported that Phillips’ successor will take likely over that role when he’s gone.
“When the Bears were approached about bidding on the land formerly occupied by Arlington Park, Phillips researched the value of the land and led the Bears through a complicated bidding process,” Pompeii reported. “Since their bid has been accepted and a purchase sale agreement signed, Phillips has been responsible for entitlement due diligence and has engaged with experts in corporate land purchases, stadium architecture, traffic and financing.”
The team’s next President remains a mystery, but it’s clear the Bears’ future is in Arlington Heights, not Soldier Field.