CHICAGO, Ill. — Mayor Lori Lightfoot revealed plans Monday of the city’s efforts to keep the Chicago Bears on the lakefront.
One of those plans could be used as an incentive to keep the Bears from packing up and heading to northwest suburban Arlington Heights.
There are three options on the table as a part of Lightfoot’s proposals.
Option 1: Fully enclose the stadium by rebuilding both end zones with columns that can support a dome structure
Option 2: Rebuild both end zones with columns to make the stadium dome ready.
Option 3: Modify Soldier Field to be a multi-purpose stadium better suited for soccer while improving its flexibility to accommodate major concerts and a range of events.
Mayor Lightfoot introduces 3 concepts for future of Soldier Field: building a dome, keeping open air but dome ready, or multi-purpose concept. First 2 would increase capacity from 61,500 to 70,000 @WGNNews pic.twitter.com/dSsPcVXIVx
— Dana Rebik (@DanaRebikWGN) July 25, 2022
It is unclear how much each option will cost the city and Chicago taxpayers, but the mayor’s office anticipates the costs to range from $900 million to $2.2 billion in total.
On top of the expanded total seating for options 1 and 2, the mayor’s office anticipates the cost-benefit of the Bears improving Soldier Field versus building a new stadium to be in the ballpark of $1 billion to $1.5 billion or more.
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Here are other proposed expansions and improvements listed in the three proposal options:
- Increase the number of traditional suites from 133 to 140.
- Add six new major clubs and experiential areas.
- Quadruple the food and beverage square footage from 50,000 square feet to 200,000.
- Add secondary club and activation areas to as many as 20.
- Dramatically expand the opportunity for major sponsorships and naming rights.
- Create more flexible event spaces and multi-purpose venues including up to 4 venues with capacities ranging from 5,000 to 60,000 or more.
Last year, the Bears purchased Arlington Park for close to $200 million. The team’s lease at Soldier Field runs through 2033.
However, the Bears could break that lease by paying the city $84 million in 2026.