Brendan Sugrue of The Bears Wire tweeted this morning that multiple construction companies have already put in bids for the Bears Arlington Heights project, making a move to the burbs a matter of “when” and not “if” at this point.
Now we’ve got this new report from Chicago Sun-Times Bears beat reporter Patrick Finley that the Bears will be presenting plans for the new stadium in an Arlington Heights community meeting on September 8, further backing the “when” not “if” belief.
Ope. And just as I click publish, the official announcement is out:
The presentation at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights will detail what a Bears statement called “one of the largest development projects in Illinois state history.” The stadium site will feature a “transit-oriented mixed-use entertainment district.”
Bears President/CEO Ted Phillips said in January he anticipated closing on the land to take until the end of this year.
“Our focus for long-term development is exclusively on that property at Arlington Park,” Phillips said in January.
Plus, a recent report by the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs took it up a notch with a strong hint that news about a move becoming a reality could be coming by the end of this calendar year.
“It’s a matter of when, and not if,” Biggs said. “They want to get out of Soldier Field, which wasn’t a great stadium when it opened in 2003. They’d like to control their own situation. That’s not going to happen overnight. But we could have an announcement maybe before the end of this calendar year.”
Here’s more from Finley’s report this evening, including a quote from Arlington Heights’ Mayor Tom Hayes:
Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes said neither he nor members of the Arlington Heights village board would be part of the community meeting intended to field concerns and suggestions from residents of the suburb.
But Hayes said he expects the village to take up more substantial discussion about their negotiations with the team later this month.
“We expect to get this ball rolling soon,” Hayes said.
While it initially seemed like a scenario that was at least partially a bargaining tool against the city of Chicago, it’s becoming increasingly likely that the move to Arlington Heights is the direction that the Bears are going to head in, and full steam by all recent accounts.