LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled three Soldier Field renovation proposals on Monday to entice the Bears to stay in their 50-year-old stadium.
At the center of the proposal is the construction of a domed stadium, which could cost between $900 million and $2.2 billion.
Lightfoot presented three options for building a dome:
• The first would fully enclose the stadium by rebuilding the two end zones with columns capable of supporting a domed structure.
• The second would require the two end zones to be rebuilt with columns to make the stadium dome ready.
• The third option involves modifications to make Soldier Field a multi-purpose stadium suitable for hosting football matches while making it a viable venue for hosting major concerts and a range of events.
“An upgraded Soldier Field will provide a world-class experience for visitors,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “In addition, each of these proposed renovations will ensure Soldier Field maintains its role as an economic engine for Chicago for years to come, as these changes will allow us to continue to bring exciting sports, music and other events to our city.”
The proposal would also increase the number of seats at Soldier Field from 61,500 to 70,000, increase the number of suites from 133 to 140, and quadruple food and beverage space from 50,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet. The statement also said the proposal would “significantly expand opportunities for major sponsorships and naming rights.”
In September, the Bears took a step away from historic Soldier Field when they signed a $197.2 million buy-and-sell agreement with Churchill Downs Inc. for the 326-acre property of ‘Arlington Park in the suburb of Arlington Heights after the track, which has hosted thoroughbred racing since 1927, went up for sale. The Arlington Park site, located 30 miles northwest of Soldier Field, could be the site of a new stadium for the Bears in the future.
According to a statement released by the team earlier this month, the Arlington Park site is the only site the team is considering for a new stadium.
“As part of our mutual agreement with the seller of this property, we are not pursuing any other stadium offers or sites, including renovations at Soldier Field, while we are under contract,” the Bears said in a statement. communicated. “We have notified the City of Chicago that we intend to honor our contractual commitments as we continue our due diligence and pre-development activities on the Arlington Heights property. In the meantime, we remain committed to our Permit Operating Agreement (POA) at Soldier Field.”
The Bears said Monday they stand by their previous statement in response to Lightfoot’s proposal.