ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — The Chicago Bears announced Thursday the organization has submitted a bid to buy Arlington Park.
Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips released a statement to WGN News that said:
We recently submitted a bid to purchase the Arlington International Racecourse property. It’s our obligation to explore every possible option to ensure we’re doing what’s best for our organization and its future. If selected, this step allows us to further evaluate the property and its potential.
Developers and investors needed to submit offers to the owners of Arlington International Racecourse by this week.
Currently, there are fewer than 10 prospective buyers who have serious proposals on the table when it comes to sealing the deal.
Churchhill Downs Inc., which owns Arlington Park, announced plans to sell the property in February.
“On behalf of Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), real estate firm CBRE has received strong proposals from numerous parties interested in redeveloping the 326-acre Arlington International Racecourse site. All proposals will be evaluated confidentially. CDI will provide an update on the sale process at the appropriate time in the coming weeks,” President Tony Petrillo said.
However, this, according to the village mayor is a soft deadline. The racetrack has been around for almost 100 years, with horseracing being a huge part of its history.
The Bears have been at Soldier Field since 1971 after playing at Wrigley Field from 1921-1970. The Chicago Park District owns Soldier Field and the Bears’ lease with the stadium is up after the 2033 season.
In 2002, the Bears played at Memorial Stadium at the University of Illinois as Soldier Field was being renovated. The controversial reconstruction left the Bears with the smallest stadium in the NFL — with a capacity of 61,500.
Mayor Lightfoot released a statement slamming the franchise, saying “and like most Bears fans, we want the organization to focus on putting a winning team on the field, beating the Packers finally and being relevant past October.”