Chicago Bears officially sign purchasing agreement for Arlington Park

Bear Blitz

CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears have informed Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office that the team has signed a purchase agreement for the Arlington International Race Course property in northwest suburban Arlington Heights.

However, city officials insist it’s not a done deal that the team will leave the lakefront. Their lease runs through 2033.

“We remain committed to continuing the work to keep the team in Chicago and have advised the Bears that we remain open to discussions. However, just as the Bears view this as a business decision, so does the City,” a mayoral spokesperson said in a statement to WGN News.

The Bears still have several years on their lease with the Chicago Park District for Soldier Field and the two sides were negotiating terms for a new deal when the team submitted a bid for the suburban site. 

Many viewed it as a negotiating tactic. 

“The City and Park District must explore all options to both enhance the visitor and fan experience at Soldier Field year-round and maximize revenues,” a spokesperson for Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “Therefore, we must do what’s in the best economic interests of our taxpayers and maximize the financial benefits at the important asset that is Soldier Field. As for the Bears, the Mayor has said numerous times, our door in City Hall remains open to engage the Bears.”

The Bears purchase agreement for the Arlington Heights property was first reported by The Athletic, which said the team would make a formal announcement Wednesday morning.

The complete statement from the Mayor’s office read:

“Tonight, the Bears informed us that they signed a purchase agreement for the Arlington Park property. We are not surprised by this move. We remain committed to continuing the work to keep the team in Chicago and have advised the Bears that we remain open to discussions. However, just as the Bears view this as a business decision so does the City. This season, Soldier Field signed a major contract with the Chicago Fire and just last weekend Soldier Field hosted the Shamrock Series – both of which are lucrative for the Chicago Park District and local economy. These examples and others demonstrate that Soldier Field remains a very sought-after venue, and, as the Mayor has said many times, overall, the City and Park District must explore all options to both enhance the visitor and fan experience at Soldier Field year-round and maximize revenues. Therefore, we must do what’s in the best economic interests of our taxpayers and maximize the financial benefits at the important asset that is Soldier Field. As for the Bears, the Mayor has said numerous times, our door in City Hall remains open to engage the Bears.”

Full statement from the office of Mayor Lori Lightfoot

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