Bears unveil Chicago lakefront venue plans



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Bears release plans for stadium project in Chicago Image: Chicago Bears and MANICA

During a public presentation on April 24th at their home ground – the Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois (US), the National Football League (NFL) team Chicago Bears unveiled their plans to build a state-of-the-art fixed-roof stadium along Chicago’s lakefront.

The Bears are aiming to break ground in the Summer of 2025, with a planned grand opening in the Summer of 2028.

‘chicagobears.com’ stated that the Burnham Park Project includes a new publicly-owned multipurpose replacement stadium located just South of the Soldier Field that’s part of a singular year-round hub centered on park-based culture and recreation.

Bears release plans for stadium project in ChicagoImage: Chicago Bears and MANICA

The 62,500-capacity Soldier Field is a multipurpose stadium on the Near South Side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. Opened in 1924 and reconstructed in 2003, the stadium has served as the home of the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) since 1971.

The Chicago Bears are a professional American football team based in Chicago. The Bears compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s National Football Conference North Division.

Commented Kevin Warren, Bears President-cum-head honcho, “This is an incredibly, incredibly special day for the Chicago Bears, for the City of Chicago, for the State of Illinois, for our ownership, for our players, for our coaches, for our staff members, for the alumni, and for our incredible Chicago Bear fans. Today is about progress, and one of the things that I am most excited about today is the fact that this shows that in this City we have the intellectual capabilities, we have the heart, we have the passion, we have the foresight, we have the wisdom, and we have the vision to do big things.”

‘chicagobears.com’ further stated that the proposal boasts year-round use for recreational and community events and an increase in open and green space, including 14 acres of athletic fields and recreational park space for use by public and youth sports programs. The athletic fields would provide a high-quality, safe place for the City’s youth, especially those from the nearby underserved neighborhoods, to gather and play sports.

Bears release plans for stadium project in ChicagoImage: Chicago Bears and MANICA

The visitors would be able to enjoy the lakefront via indoor and outdoor experiences. The plan features a three-acre promenade and plaza area which could include year-round food and beverage (F&B) outlets, retail shops, a cultural attraction focused on sports and the Soldier Field history. A publicly-owned hotel could also be included on the recreation and cultural campus.

The new stadium would continue the tradition on a site that has hosted Chicago’s major civic, entertainment, sports and cultural events for 100 years.

Maintained George H. McCaskey, Bears Chairman, “The Bears have been proud to call Chicago home for more than 100 years. Perhaps no other sports team embodies the character of the City it represents better than the Bears and Chicago. Our Founder, George Halas, emphasized the importance of being a champion for Chicago. This has been part of the foundation of our organization. That is why we are excited to invest in the greatest City in the world through a stadium project and site improvements that will benefit the Chicagoans and the visitors.”

Bears release plans for stadium project in ChicagoImage: Chicago Bears and MANICA

The proposal includes a contemporary architectural design which complements the existing architecture featuring an enclosed, fixed roof, spectacular views of Chicago’s skyline and lakefront, intimate seating for unparalleled sight lines and open spaces for congregating.

The stadium would be capable of hosting large-scale sporting events year-round, including Super Bowls (the annual league championship game of the NFL) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Final Fours as well as the world’s most prominent entertainment acts. Those spectacles would unlock economic benefits for a variety of sectors within Chicago and the region, evidenced in part by the estimated $6.6 billion in direct fiscal tax impact produced nationwide in 2021 by the sports tourism sector of the economy.

Indianapolis (US)-based the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that regulates student athletics among about 1,100 schools in the United States and one in Canada. It also organizes the athletic programs of the colleges and helps over 500,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports.

Bears release plans for stadium project in ChicagoImage: Chicago Bears and MANICA

Recent Super Bowls have reportedly generated $1.3 billion for Arizona in 2023, $234-478 million for the Los Angeles County in 2022 and $572 million for South Florida in 2020. Recent Final Fours have produced $270 million for Houston in 2023, $106 million for Louisiana in 2022 and $80-100 million for Indianapolis in 2021.

Observed Brandon Johnson, Chicago Mayor, “This is a beautiful day for the City of Chicago. It really is, and as a lifelong Bears fan, it is an honor to be here to celebrate the Bears’ commitment to remaining the *Chicago *Bears. This is going to reinvigorate the entire City of Chicago. It would be the crown jewel of the City of Chicago, and with this new project we are showing the world what Chicago is capable of.”

The other project benefits include a pedestrian mall and pavilion, a wider variety of food and beverage (F&B) options, more public restrooms, and the preservation of Soldier Field’s historic colonnades, which will remain accessible to the fans and continue to honor the men and women who served in US military.

Bears release plans for stadium project in ChicagoImage: Chicago Bears and MANICA

The Bears have pledged to contribute more than $2 billion to the project – over 70 percent of the total stadium cost. The remaining stadium funds are proposed to come from the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA), a Government entity that was created by the Illinois General Assembly in 1987 for the purpose of constructing and renovating the sports stadiums for professional teams in the State of Illinois. The Bears’ proposal can be accomplished with the existing hotel tax used to back the ISFA bonds.

Chicago (US)-based the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA) is a non-profit Government entity that builds and renovates the sports stadiums for the professional teams in Illinois.

Informed Karen Murphy, Bears Executive Vice-President of Stadium Development and Chief Operating Officer, “We are committing over $2 billion into a public/private partnership that will be transcendent for the City and bring opportunities and positive outcomes to the millions of people who both live in Chicago and visit Chicago.”

Bears release plans for stadium project in ChicagoImage: Chicago Bears and MANICA

The Burnham Park Project includes a commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The Stadium Project DEI program is designed to provide equitable access and opportunities to the diverse community throughout the City and the State. It includes a four-phase approach to formalize efforts to develop and implement the workforce, the business and community goals, standards and expectations alongside key partners from inception through completion and beyond.

The DEI plan includes the Bears formalizing partnerships with the key experts and organizations, beginning with the City and the State Governments and community-based entities representing women as well as the Black and Hispanic people.

The construction of a publicly-owned stadium and the associated Burnham Park improvements would be one of the largest building projects in the region’s history, representing $4.2 billion of direct capital investment while creating opportunities for a regional workforce.

The project would boast over $8 billion in regional construction economic impact, a $456 million annual economic impact post- construction, the creation of 43,000 regional construction jobs and 4,200 permanent jobs post-construction. The annual tax revenue from the ongoing operations is projected to be 58 percent higher for the City of Chicago and 41 percent for the State of Illinois with the replacement stadium over the current operation of the Soldier Field.

Bears release plans for stadium project in ChicagoImage: Chicago Bears and MANICA

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