Bears sign purchase agreement for Arlington Park property

The Chicago Bears and Churchill Downs Inc. have signed a purchase agreement for the Arlington Park property in Arlington Heights, Ill., according to a release from the club. The move signals the franchise's interest in the possibility of leaving its longtime home at Soldier Field.

"We are excited to have executed a Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) for the Arlington Park property," Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips said. "We are grateful to Churchill Downs Incorporated for their efforts to reach this point. We also appreciate the support of Mayor Tom Hayes and the Village of Arlington Heights. Finalizing the PSA was the critical next step in continuing our exploration of the property and its potential. Much work remains to be completed, including working closely with the Village of Arlington Heights and surrounding communities, before we can close on this transaction. Our goal is to chart a path forward that allows our team to thrive on the field, Chicagoland to prosper from this endeavor, and the Bears organization to be ensured a strong future. We will never stop working toward delivering Bears fans the very best experience. We will continue to provide updates on our progress at the appropriate time."

The news was first reported by The Athletic.

Arlington Heights lies about a 30-minute drive northwest of downtown Chicago. The club submitted a bid in June for the 326-acre property, which comes with a price tag of $197.2 million, per chicagobusiness.com.

The Bears' lease for Soldier Field runs through 2033, but the organization can break that lease by paying a fee of $84 million as early as 2026, per the Chicago Tribune. The relationship between the Bears and Chicago Park District, which owns the 97-year-old facility, has been contentious on the subject of repairs and renovations, per WBEZ Chicago. Soldier Field also has the smallest capacity of any NFL venue at 61,500.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded to the news via Twitter Monday night, saying "My statement still stands on the Bears: my (administration) remains committed to continuing the work to keep the team in Chicago. As I have said numerous times, our door in City Hall remains open."

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