The Chicago Bears are one step closer to building a new stadium after signing a purchase agreement for Arlington International Racecourse, the team announced Wednesday.
Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips released a statement to the team’s website confirming the $197.2 million sale agreement, months after submitting a bid for the 326-acre property, which lies just 35 miles outside of Chicago.
“We are excited to have executed a Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) for the Arlington Park property,” Phillips said. “Finalizing the PSA was the critical next step in continuing our exploration of the property and its potential. Much work remains to be completed, including working closely with the Village of Arlington Heights and surrounding communities, before we can close on this transaction.”
Sep 19, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (22) breaks up a pass intended for Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (12) during the third quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit:
He continued: “Our goal is to chart a path forward that allows our team to thrive on the field, Chicagoland to prosper from this endeavor, and the Bears organization to be ensured a strong future. We will never stop working toward delivering Bears fans the very best experience. We will continue to provide updates on our progress at the appropriate time.”
News of the deal was met by backlash from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot who has been opposed to the team’s relocation from Soldier Field, home of the Bears since 1971.
“My statement still stands on the Bears: my admin remains committed to continuing the work to keep the team in Chicago,” she said in a tweet. “As I have said numerous times, our door in City Hall remains open.”
Back in June when the Bears announced a bid on the property, Lightfoot released a statement condemning efforts to relocate.
“Like most Bears fans, we want the organization to focus on putting a winning football team on the field, beating the Packers finally and being relevant past October. Everything else is noise,” the statement read.
The Bears are locked in their lease with Soldier Field until 2033 and, according to The Chicago Tribune, they would have to pay $84 million to break it.