For decades, Arlington Park has withstood the onslaught of hooves. In just a few days, it may settle into the brush claws.
The Chicago Bears moved closer to building a new stadium after Arlington Heights Village issued a demolition permit at the former Arlington International Racetrack racetrack site, where the NFL team is planning a $5 billion game day Venue, Chicago Tribune Report.
The permit is earmarked for the interior section and marks the first phase of dismantling. The Bears hope to begin the process Tuesday without using explosives or implosions to perform the job, according to a team representative.
Village spokesman Avis Meade said Arlington Heights and Cook County will review and approve plans for the removal of exterior structures at the site. In total, the work is expected to cost approximately $3.8 million, with $1.48 million coming from the first phase of demolition. The team posted plans on its website to remove debris from the demolition.
The Bears closed a deal in February to buy the racetrack property for $197 million. In addition to the stadium, the project is planned to include residential, commercial and entertainment aspects.
The team faced considerable challenges in finding a new venue, as it planned to move on from historic Soldier Field, where the team has played since the 1920s on Chicago’s Lake Michigan shoreline.
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi recently reset the former racetrack’s land value to $197 million, a staggering increase from its previous tax value of about $33.5 million. The Bears are appealing the assessment.
The outlet said the team is also currently negotiating property taxes with three school districts whose assessments could also be increased by the new stadium. The districts suggested the team value the land at $95 million, which team president Kevin Warren called “impossible.”
— Quinn Donoghue