The Chicago Bears have been working towards building a new stadium for quite some time now. A recent update on the team’s plans appears to backtrack on a commitment to building the stadium in Arlington Heights. The reason the Bears gave in their statement Friday suggests the team wishes to squeeze taxpayers in their future community.
The Chicago Bears are focused on building a new stadium
New Bears President Kevin Warren said when he took over in January that his primary focus was on getting the new stadium built for the Bears. The goal in January was to build in Arlington Heights. According to a statement by the Bears released to NBC 5 Chicago, the team is looking at another nearby suburb, Naperville, to build in:
“The Chicago Bears goal of building the largest single development project in Illinois history led by billions of dollars in private capital investment, and the jobs and economic benefits generated, is at risk in Arlington Heights,” the team’s statement read. “The stadium-based project remains broadly popular in Arlington Heights, Chicagoland and the state.
However, the property’s original assessment at five times the 2021 tax value, and the recent settlement with Churchill Downs for 2022 being three times higher, fails to reflect the property is not operational and not commercially viable in its current state.
We will continue the ongoing demolition activity and work toward a path forward in Arlington Heights, but it is no longer our singular focus. It is our responsibility to listen to other municipalities in Chicagoland about potential locations that can deliver on this transformational opportunity for our fans, our club and the State of Illinois.”
The Bears are playing a game with local politicians to save money on taxes. According to Shelby Bremer with NBC 5, the Bears purchased the property for $197.2 million. When the property was reassessed, the seller, Churchill Downs, was left needing to pay taxes on the reassessment of $197 million.
The Bears are looking for a public handout
Following an appeal, Churchill Downs paid property taxes based on a settlement figure of $95 million. But the Bears will now be on the hook for a possible $197 million assessment in the upcoming year, as the $95 million deal was a one-year agreement. Per the report, the Bears aren’t asking for public funds to construct the stadium, but they are looking for taxpayers to fund other auxiliary pieces to having an NFL stadium in Arlington Heights:
“The Bears have long said they would not seek public funding for the construction of a football stadium itself, but they do want two things: public funding for infrastructure of the surrounding development, and certainty on their property tax bill, in order to move forward with any redevelopment of the Arlington Heights property. In a statement Friday, the team said the $95 million figure has prompted them to look elsewhere.”
The Bears are looking for benefits Arlington Heights citizens don’t get
The Bears appear to want to cheat their property taxes in a bid to stay in the city. The city uses that money to fund its schools. It’s a shame that the Bears are trying to cheat taxpayers of their dues. (Studies show this is typically the case when an NFL team builds a new stadium.) The Bears know the property is worth at least $197.2 million because that’s what they paid for it. This is a bad look to the people in the Arlington Heights community. The Bears show in this negotiation that they have no loyalty to the people in Arlington Heights.
Good luck, Naperville.
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