As the Chicago Bears continue to explore potential options to build a stadium and entertainment district in suburban Arlington Heights, the team will hold an informational meeting with residents Thursday night.
The meeting, the first since the team was chosen to arrange the purchase of the former Arlington International Racetrack, follows a big announcement from the team, as they unveiled the first renders of it at what a potential stadium neighborhood might look like.
Here’s what we know from Thursday’s meeting.
The reunion will run from 7-9 p.m. and will take place at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. The meeting will take place in the gymnasium.
Parking lots will open at 5 p.m. and doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Spaces will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
What will be discussed:
According to the team, management will be on hand to provide feedback and preliminary plans will be discussed to build a “mixed-use entertainment district”, which would be anchored by a state-of-the-art stadium on the site.
Why do the Bears want to leave Soldier Field in downtown Chicago? Here are five reasons Soldier Field isn’t a good stadium explained by NBC Sports Chicago’s Ryan Taylor.
What we know about the project:
Details of the proposed stadium were not disclosed, but if approved, the Bears would purchase the Arlington International Racetrack site and build a “fully enclosed” stadium on the site.
Additionally, the Bears are reportedly looking to build a large entertainment district around the site, with restaurants, bars, performance spaces and a variety of other features that the team says would be accessible year-round.
The team called the project one of the largest proposed construction projects in state history.
The Bears also revealed that they would not seek public funding for the stadium itself, but could potentially negotiate with Arlington Heights officials to seek funding for other parts of the proposed site.
According to a press release, the team says the project could create 48,000 temporary construction jobs and nearly 10,000 long-term jobs around the site, generating more than $9.4 billion in total economic impact.
The team say negotiations are still ongoing to buy the venue, but have warned that even if they have an approved deal in place, a stadium would not be a guarantee due to further negotiations expected to take place .
The City of Chicago has attempted to negotiate with the Bears over improvements to Soldier Field, but under the terms of the agreement reached with Arlington Heights, the club says they are focused solely on the new suburban project.