The Chicago Bears take next step in moving out of Chicago

Chicago Bears (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

We pretty much knew it was inevitable as soon as the reports came out that the Chicago Bears were purchasing the former horse racetrack in Arlington Heights. The announcement came that the McCaskeys and Bears signed a purchase agreement to buy the Arlington Park property over a year ago. The signing of the purchase agreement was not a guarantee that the purchase would go through, however. Just think about how many real estate property deals fall through before the closing. Well, that did not happen here as the Bears officially closed on the property yesterday.

The closing was the next big step in the process of the Chicago Bears building their new stadium and multi-purpose entertainment district. The property they purchased is larger than the location that is currently home to SoFi Stadium. As soon as the announcement was made that the team was pursuing this option, it made too much business sense to stay at Soldier Field in Chicago.

The Chicago Bears are one step closer to moving out of Soldier Field

The team does not own Soldier Field, instead, they lease it from the city. The team has very little say in what takes place in many ways and that shouldn’t be the case. They are also losing out on business revenue. It will be sad to see them leave Soldier Field because having them on the lakefront makes too much sense, but building an entire retail district with hotels, bars, restaurants and of course a state-of-the-art stadium will allow the McCaskeys to finally rid the stink of what took place during the 2002 Soldier Field renovation.

If I am being honest, I love Soldier Field. I love how close you feel to the field. I love the amenities that are offered. It looks like a spaceship landed inside the old stadium, but it also keeps the nostalgia of that stadium too. The problem is, it is too small from a capacity standpoint. The stadium needs a dome (sorry, Bear weather fans) and the parking could be better. That said, I’ll be sad to not enter through the gates because I’ve been doing it since before the renovations. The last time I was there was on the opening day of 2019 and I haven’t been back since losing my dad.

Now, I have to put this out there because it was in the Chicago Bears statement, but there’s no way that the team doesn’t move forward with a new stadium unless they cannot get Arlington Heights and the state to help fund the infrastructure needed. However, that’s exactly why they brought in Kevin Warren as the new President and CEO. He has experience with this whole process from his time with the Minnesota Vikings.

Here is a statement from the team stating it’s not a guarantee the stadium is built here, but we all know it will be:

"“Finalizing the purchase does not guarantee the land will be developed, but it is an important next step in our ongoing evaluation of the opportunity,” the letter reads. “There is still a tremendous amount of due diligence work to be done to determine if constructing an enclosed state-of-the-art stadium and multi-purpose entertainment district is feasible.”"

If we were to look into the future, my guess is that we will not see a new stadium for the Chicago Bears before 2027. Their lease runs through 2033, but they are able to break the lease for a penalty of $84 million dollars as soon as 2026. With how long it will take to change the infrastructure, design and build the stadium, 2027 would be the absolute soonest I’d expect to walk into the new Arlington Park stadium (whatever they call it).