Chicago Bears Pan Mayor's Soldier Field Dome Plan

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Bears

In her effort to keep the NFL's Chicago Bears from leaving the Windy City, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday unveiled three different options for renovating Soldier Field. 

According to the Chicago Tribune, Lightfoot addressed top city business leaders, unveiling options for rebuilding Soldier Field, as well as plans for improving the site where the current stadium sits should the Bears decided to relocate to a proposed site in Arlington Heights. 

Lightfoot's options included enclosing the stadium with a dome; rebuilding the stadium to make "dome ready"' with columns at both end zones; or modifying the venue at a multipurpose facility better suited for soccer, while "improving its flexibility" for other events.

“Soldier Field must be a year-round destination,” Lightfoot said.

The Bears expressed little interest in the city's proposals. 

“The only potential project the Chicago Bears are exploring for a new stadium development is Arlington Park. As part of our mutual agreement with the seller of that property, we are not pursuing alternative stadium deals or sites, including renovations to Soldier Field, while we are under contract,” the Bears said. “We have informed the City of Chicago that we intend to honor our contractual commitments as we continue our due diligence and predevelopment activities on the Arlington Heights property.

Lightfoot has panned the Bears' stated intention of moving to the site of a former horse racing track in Arlington Heights, calling the plans "noise." 

A working group of advisors have told Lightfoot that the city should consider a naming rights deal for Soldier Field, and conduct a feasibility study on enclosing the stadium with a dome or roof. 

The Bears have played at Soldier Field since 1971, briefly moving to Champaign's Memorial Stadium in 2002 while Solider Field underwent a $690 million renovation. 

Last fall, the Bears signed a purchase agreement for Arlington International Racecourse. That deal will close later this year at the earliest. A move to the Arlington Heights property would allow the Bears to develop the 326-acre property with shopping, dining and entertainment. 


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