New Details Emerge on Proposal for Bears’ New Stadium: Report

Soldier Field

Getty The Chicago Bears have played their home games at Soldier Field since 1971.

The Chicago Bears are going full steam ahead with their plans to build a new stadium in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

It’ll take some time, of course.

Christopher Placek of the Daily Herald reported in February of 2022 the team’s purchase of the 326-acre property “is expected to close during the first half of 2023,” and now, new details have emerged about what the Bears could build on the massive site in addition to a new stadium.

Per a June 30 report by Robert McCoppin of the Chicago Tribune, “the highest levels of the team’s administration, including Chairman George McCaskey, have been involved in meetings to make the purchase and subsequent construction of a new football stadium happen,” so it’s clear the team is planning on leaving Soldier Field, where it has plays its home games since 1971.

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Former Baseball Executive Pitching Minor League Stadium on Property

According to documents the Tribune obtained from the Village of Arlington Heights, the Bears have given “$125,000 with the village for studies of the stadium proposal.” The documents also included “a former baseball executive’s proposal to add a minor league baseball complex to the site.”

The proposal for a new minor league complex came courtesy of William Larsen, who served as general manager of the Kane County Cougars, a minor league team, in the 1990s.

“The baseball fields would host four to six teams of undrafted college players,” the Tribune reported, also noting Larsen’s proposal for a new minor league baseball complex on the property has not yet been approved by the Bears organization. The proposal was emailed to Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes, who then forwarded it to the Bears.

Hayes told the Tribune that “village officials would encourage the team to consider the idea … but it’s up to team officials to decide what to do with the site, within the village’s parameters.”

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Progress on New Stadium ‘Speeding Up’

“Things are moving quicker than they had been, as a result of the timeline the Bears are working under,” Hayes also told the Tribune. ”We have been working together with the team to meet their needs and our needs, and things are progressing. We’re doing all we can to make this a reality.”

Hayes also noted the process is moving faster than it had been the past.

“Hayes wouldn’t talk about specifics of the discussions, but said progress was speeding up due to the Bears’ deadline to finalize the deal by mid-2023,” the Tribune reported.

The Bears have not publicly admitted or acknowledged they’re planning to build a new home field on the property, but they hired Manica Architecture — the same architecture team responsible for the construction of Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders — in March to help plan and design a new stadium, so it’s only a matter of time before the public acknowledgment finally comes.

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