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Stadium Developer Makes Last-Ditch Appeal To Keep Bears At Soldier Field

Ahead of the Chicago Bears’ final game of the season, Landmark Development released a video Sunday depicting proposed renovations to Soldier Field as the team’s decision about building a new stadium with a mixed-use district in Arlington Heights draws near.


Landmark Development, whose president, Bob Dunn, has advised Mayor Lori Lightfoot on efforts to keep the Bears’ stadium in Chicago proper, created the video. Narrated by Chicago TV legend Bill Kurtis, the video showcases a vision of Soldier Field offering a transparent retractable dome, a new transit hub and a year-round entertainment district.

“Having built a number of NFL stadiums, having built other sports venues … having built Lambeau Field, which is consistently ranked as one of the top buildings in all of sports by fans, taking that building and then transforming it to become what it’s become, there is not an opportunity in the sports industry in the United States, I would argue, that matches the opportunity here,” Dunn told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Dunn said the project could cost $1B to $1.5B less than building from scratch at the site of the former Arlington International Racecourse, where the Bears have a contract to buy the 326-acre property for $197.2M, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

The Bears and the Arlington Heights Village Board came to a pre-development agreement in October that would allow tax increment financing, special service areas or special assessments, with the village to still decide on local tax breaks, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Under Landmark’s proposal, seating would increase from 61,000 to the “high-60s,” the Sun-Times reports. The Veterans Memorial would be expanded, private suites would total 140 instead of 133, six club areas would be added, and food and beverage spaces would increase to 200K SF from 50K SF, Crain’s reports.

Another part of the proposal is Dunn’s $20B One Central project that would bring nine high-rises to the area, along with a transit hub and entertainment district. That project requires a $6.5B state subsidy.