It’s Just a Matter of Time: Bears Close on the Arlington Park Property

bears stadium Arlington park

Finally, the purchase is in the books.

Five months after the Chicago Bears held what amounted to an open house laying out a vision for the 326-acre Arlington Park plot of land, the team has closed on the property it hopes is the future home of the franchise. The purchase agreement is complete and the Bears are now the proud owners of what was the Arlington International Racecourse site.

The Bears released a letter announcing the closing, part of which you can read in the tweet below:

You can read the letter in its entirety here.

Whew! The Bears have cleared a major hurdle with this one. This isn’t something I’ve ever assumed to be a lock. I’m sorry, but I’ve seen the Bears fumble easier bags than this one. So to see this going through to the next phase makes me breathe a sigh of relief. Completion of the purchase agreement is an important next step in the process the franchise hopes ends with the eventual opening of a state-of-the-art football facility and multi-purpose entertainment district.

But the Bears aren’t out of the woods yet. Completing the purchase represents just a few, humble first steps in the process. Looking ahead, the team will continue on its past to seek tax breaks and perhaps even public contributions to help build infrastructure around the Arlington Park project that would help in the process of building a new stadium. The Bears have made it clear since September that their pleas for public money aren’t going directly to stadium construction. Even still … that won’t be an easy message to massage to taxpayers. So good luck with that. And even if that gets cleared, we still have a ways to go, especially with the PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) plan we discussed in Bullets last week getting mixed reviews in Springfield. But, again, we’ve got a ways to go before we get to that bridge (let alone cross it).

In the end, the biggest takeaway is that every step the Bears take toward Arlington Heights is one that cements what has felt inevitable for a while — there is no universe where the Bears stay in Chicago at Soldier Field. That dream feels over. And finalization of the purchase agreement feels like the dawn of a new era. Or, perhaps, a fade-to-black moment as Jeff Joniak might describe it.

Here’s the a statement from the Mayor’s office on the closing.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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