Chicago mayor offers Soldier Field renovation options as bear eyes move

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday announced three possible renovation proposals at Soldier Field to shut down the area and try to prevent the Bears from moving to Arlington Heights, a suburb of the city.

“An enhanced Soldier Field will provide a world-class visitor experience,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “In addition, each of these proposed renovations will allow Soldier Field to maintain its role as an economic engine for Chicago for years to come, as these changes will allow us to continue to provide exciting sports, music and other events in our city. ”

A task force met with “stadium engineers, designers and financial experts with deep NFL experience” to craft the proposals, which suggest Soldier Field can be turned into a dome. The proposals are as follows, according to the press release:

  1. Completely surround the stadium by rebuilding the two end areas with columns that can support a domed structure.
  2. Rebuild the two end areas with columns to prepare the stadium dome.
  3. Modify Soldier Field to make it a multi-purpose stadium better suited to football while improving its flexibility to host major concerts and a range of events.

The cost of carrying out these proposals would range from $900 million to $2.2 billion, according to Lightfoot’s announcement. The group also suggested other improvements, including increasing the number of seats, adding clubs and “experiential zones”, quadrupling the space for food and drinks and expanding the possibilities sponsorship and naming rights.

When contacted to comment on Lightfoot’s proposals, the Bears reposted a statement from earlier this month saying they weren’t interested in anything other than the Arlington Heights site. In September last year, the team took a big step towards building a stadium on the site by buying 326 acres of land from Churchill Downs Incorporated for $197.2 million.

(Rendered from Soldier Field courtesy of Landmark Development Services Company, LLC)


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