Chicago Bears Officially Announce Arlington Park Purchase Agreement

Word broke last night that the Chicago Bears were in agreement to purchase Arlington Park, a possible new home for the Bears away from Soldier Field.

This morning, the Bears are confirming and officially announcing it:

From the release:

“We are excited to have executed a Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) for the Arlington Park property,” said Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips. “We are grateful to Churchill Downs Incorporated for their efforts to reach this point. We also appreciate the support of Mayor Tom Hayes and the Village of Arlington Heights. 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. 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.”

“This has been an extraordinarily competitive bid process,” said Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO Bill Carstanjen. “Congratulations to the Chicago Bears for their professionalism and perseverance. It is clear they are committed to an exciting vision for their team and their fans. We wish them the greatest success and are excited for the opportunity this brings to the Village of Arlington Heights and the future economic development of this unique property.”

“I could not be more excited about the news that the Chicago Bears have signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement to buy the Arlington Park property in our community,” said Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes. “My goal for any redevelopment has always been to put this prime piece of real estate to its highest and best use, and I can’t think of a higher and better use than this one. There is a long way to go as we begin this journey, and many issues for the community to discuss, but the Village is committed to working with the Bears organization and all stakeholders to explore this opportunity for Arlington Heights and the northwest suburban region.”

There’s a little bit of wordsmithing in there, but it’s clear that the parties involved want the world to know that this purchase is aimed at creating a very clear alternative to Soldier Field. However, did you catch the one big hedge from Phillips? This: “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.”

In other words, there’s an agreement to purchase Arlington Park here, but it’s contingent on something. Probably a good development plan for a new stadium, partially funded by Arlington Heights. And also probably contingent on the City of Chicago NOT making Soldier Field a more palatable place for the Bears to stay.

In other other words, what we have here is still part of the pressure campaign, but it’s definitely more of a concrete step toward actually leaving Soldier Field than we have seen in the past.

Much more discussion on the situation here if you missed it:

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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