Bears receive permit to begin demolition at Arlington Park

Bears given approval to start demolition at Arlington Park originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Bears construction of a new $5 billion stadium at Arlington Park moved closer to reality on Friday as the village of Arlington Heights signed off on the initial phase of demolition plans.

The village posted on its website Friday that approval was given for Phase 1 of demolition, which allows for interior demolition, specifically knocking down the grandstand, office and jockey building. With work expected to begin soon, the area might see an increase in truck traffic, according to village officials.

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Earlier this month, Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes stated the village received a number of questions about the team's request to perform demolition work, and at the time, said the village board didn't have the authority to approve or deny the request, according to the Tribune. With interior work set to begin soon, both the village and Cook County are slated to review and approve applications for demolition of the exterior buildings.

On May 3, the Bears filed paperwork in hopes of landing approval to begin demolition, the Chicago Tribune previously reported. In recent weeks, the potential move to Arlington Heights got a little more complicated after the Cook County Assessor hiked the assessed value of the team’s newly acquired land, meaning their property tax bill could be headed for a major increase.

The team closed on the purchase of the 326-acre site that held the former Arlington International Racecourse in February, paying $197.2 million for the property. The previous assessed value sat at roughly $33 million, but as part of the triennial reassessment, Assessor Fritz Kaegi’s office placed its value at $197 million. That increase could hike the property tax bill proportionally, spelling out a potential sixfold spike.

The Bears are asking the Board of Review to reassess the tax value of the property. A hearing is expected to take place on the matter in June.

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