Apr 25, 2024 - News

Bears float some new digs

rendering of new bears stadium

Rendering courtesy of the Chicago Bears

The Bears presented city officials yesterday with plans, renderings and designs for a $4.6 billion stadium development on the lakefront.

The big picture: The proposal calls for a publicly owned enclosed stadium so the Bears can host major events like the Super Bowl, the World Cup, live concerts and the NCAA Final Four.

  • "In this city, we have the vision to do big things," Bears president Kevin Warren said at a press conference.
park with collonade
Rendering courtesy of the Chicago Bears

Yes, but: The plan calls for lots of public dollars and the demolition of Soldier Field.

  • The Bears would keep the stadium's colonnades and create park space around them.

By the numbers: The team plans to put up over $2 billion, which they say is one of the biggest investments in city history and 70% of the total cost of the new venue.

  • The Bears are asking the state to kick in the rest through the Illinois Sports Facility Authority and to pony up millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements on the Museum Campus.
  • The state still owes over $600 million for the 2003 renovation of Soldier Field, but this plan would include refinancing that debt.

Reality check: "This project will result in no new taxes for the residents of the city of Chicago," Mayor Brandon Johnson said at the press conference.

  • Any new financing deal would have to be approved by the Illinois General Assembly. Gov. JB Pritzker said he remains skeptical that any stadium deal would be good for taxpayers.
football field
Rendering courtesy of the Chicago Bears

The other side: The nonprofit Friends of the Park has already called the notion of building a stadium along the lake a non-starter.

  • "As is so often the case in Chicago, the powerful and wealthy are demanding that our entire city stop and fast-track their plans to expand operations on the people's lakefront," the Friends of the Park said in a statement.
  • "Once again, Chicago taxpayers are being told what is good for them."

The bottom line: The Bears want a big play, but they're still far from the end zone.

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