5 things to know before Thursday's Arlington Park meeting originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Chicago Bears are hosting a meeting on Thursday night at John Hersey High School on the "potential purchase and possible development of Arlington Park."
The team also released a letter surrounding the initial, broad details about the new stadium and their plans. The letter details the current plan and includes pictures of the Bears’ brainchild for the move.
Here are five things you should know about the Bears' initial plans before Thursday's community meeting.
The Bears wrote they plan to build an “enclosed stadium.”
“We envision a multi-purpose entertainment district anchored by a new, best-in-class enclosed stadium,” the letter said.
An enclosed stadium would do plenty of economical justice for the Bears. In contrast to Soldier Field, which does not have any sort of roof to protect against Chicago’s winters, the new stadium could generate year-round revenue for the Bears with a roof.
“Providing Chicagoland with a new home worthy of hosting global events such as the Super Bowl, College Football Playoffs, and Final Four,” the letter said.
The Bears hope to take advantage of the surrounding land to build other amenities.
“Make no mistake, this is much more than a stadium project. Any development of Arlington Park will propose to include a multi-purpose entertainment, commercial/retail, and housing district that will provide considerable economic benefits to Cook County, the surrounding region and State of Illinois,” the letter wrote.
One of the perks of building a stadium includes constructing its surroundings. The Bears would have control over the accessories that support the stadium. Similar to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ estate surrounding AT&T stadium, the Bears plan to create a total cash cow to build on their Forbes’ $5.8 billion valuation.
“The long-term project vision for the entire property is an ongoing work-in-progress but could include: restaurants, office space, hotel, fitness center, new parks and open spaces, and other improvements for the community to enjoy,” the letter said.
The Bears promise to bring benefits to the town of Arlington Heights, the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois amidst the construction of one of the “largest development projects in Illinois history.”
The organization will need an army to help build the grand estate. In doing so, the Bears believe they can make a considerable amount of money for the state and its people by creating “48,000 jobs” which would result in “$3.9 billion in labor income” for those who participate.
All-in-all, the Bears estimate the project to have a positive $9.4 billion impact on the state.
Interestingly enough, they also believe they can provide tax relief to the surrounding areas by generating $16 million for Arlington Heights, $9.8 million for Cook County and $51.3 million for the state.
This could ultimately be a ploy to persuade the town and the state for financial incentives from taxpayer money to help them move to Arlington Heights, but still interesting nonetheless.
Plenty of discussions have circled the idea of how the Bears will navigate the costs of building the stadium and departing from Soldier Field.
The organization is currently under lease with the city of Chicago for Soldier Field until 2033. They can break the lease in 2026 at the cost of $84 million, which will factor into the liabilities of the new stadium.
Stadiums nowadays aren’t cheap. The Las Vegas Raiders paid $2 billion to build Allegiant Stadium. The Los Angeles Rams and Chargers spent $5 billion to build SoFi stadium.
Alas, the Bears believe they can do without public funding to build the stadium but will require some for the "multi-purpose district" which will include the other amenities.
“While the Bears will seek no public funding for direct stadium structure construction, given the broad, long-term public benefits of this project, we look forward to partnering with the various governmental bodies to secure additional funding and assistance needed to support the feasibility of the remainder of the development,” the letter stated.
The Bears announced a meeting will happen the same night as the start of the NFL regular season. On Thursday, Sept. 8, the Bears will host an informational meeting for the community surrounding the "potential purchase and possible development of Arlington Park."
The organization will likely discuss multiple possibilities for the financial incentive, design and timeline of the stadium. Bears chairman George McCaskey will speak at the meeting.
Stay tuned to NBC Sports Chicago's coverage of the meeting.
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