Bears’ buy of 326-acre Arlington Park property official

CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears took another step toward leaving Soldier Field on Wednesday when the team announced it has officially closed on its purchase of the 326-acre Arlington Park property.

The latest milestone for the Bears was delivered in an open letter from the team’s Twitter account. The Bears again stated that closing on the $197.2 million purchase does not guarantee the development of the team’s plan for a domed stadium.

“Finalizing the purchase does not guarantee the land will be developed, but it is an important next step in our ongoing evaluation of the opportunity,” the statement read. “There is still a tremendous amount of due diligence work to be done to determine if constructing an enclosed state-of-the-art stadium and multi-purpose entertainment district is feasible.”

The team said the development in suburban Arlington Heights, Illinois, could create more than 48,000 jobs and generate $9.4 billion in economic impact for the Chicagoland economy. The city of Chicago has made several attempts to keep the Bears at Soldier Field, where the team has played for the past 50 years, including its latest proposal to put a roof over the 61,500-seat stadium.

The office of Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is running for reelection in two weeks, released a statement that said the Bears’ closure of the Arlington Park property has “been anticipated for some time.”

“Nonetheless, all of us die hard Bears fans, the Mayor included, know and believe that the Chicago Bears should remain in Chicago,” the statement read. “So, now that the land deal has closed, we have an even better opportunity to continue making the business case as to why the Bears should remain in Chicago and why adaptations to Soldier Field can meet and exceed all of the Bears’ future needs.”

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