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Bears announce plans for new ‘state-of-the-art’ stadium near lake

The Chicago Bears held a news conference Wednesday to announce plans to create “a state-of-the-art enclosed, public stadium” on the city’s museum campus near Lake Michigan.

Plans also call for additional green and open space with lakefront access.

The team said last month it was willing to provide more than $2 billion in funding for a public stadium in the city.

“The future Chicago Bears stadium will bring a transformative opportunity to our region: it will stimulate the economy, create jobs, facilitate mega-events and generate millions in tax revenue,” said the team president, Kevin Warren, March 11.

Warren’s statement signaled a shift in the direction of new home construction in the suburbs.

The new stadium would be very close to the current one, Soldier Field, which has been the Bears’ home since 1971. The team’s lease there runs until 2033.

The Bears spent $197.2 million more than a year ago to buy the site of the shuttered Arlington International Race Course from Churchill Downs Inc. in suburban Arlington Heights. The team planned to build a stadium on a 326-acre plot of land about 30 miles northwest of Soldier Field, with restaurants, retail and more on the property — all for about $5 billion , with the help of taxpayers.

The Bears said they would pay for the stadium in Arlington Heights, with taxpayer money covering infrastructure costs such as roads and sewers. Those projects were stalled, with the team citing a property assessment it deemed too high.

Mayor Brandon Johnson has made it clear he wants to keep the team in the city.

“I have always said that significant private investment and a strong emphasis on public benefit are my requirements for public-private partnerships in our city,” Johnson said last month.

Associated Press reporting.

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