The possibility for the Bears to control the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft is absolutely momentous. If the team’s reconstruction is successful in the long run will depend greatly on whether general manager Ryan Poles decides to stay put or move down, and how many assets he is able to obtain if he does trade the selection. The largest chance for significant change within the organization won’t, however, involve decisions made on the playing field.
The Bears bought the 326-acre Arlington Park site in an official transaction on Wednesday, offering them the rare chance to design and construct their own stadium as well as an entertainment complex around it. Before the team starts construction, there are still a number of unanswered questions regarding the project. These include: how much public money will be used to develop the neighborhood around the stadium, when the Bears would be able to relocate from Soldier Field to the suburbs, and how long development would take are all unknown.
Many of those questions remain unanswered. But, we do have some concept of what Arlington Park might look like after it is transformed into the new Bears stadium.
“Make no mistake, this is much more than a stadium project,” the Bears said in a letter published last September. “Any development of Arlington Park will propose to include a multi-purpose entertainment, commercial/retail, and housing district that will provide considerable economic benefits to Cook County, the surrounding region and State of Illinois.”
The long-term ambitions for Arlington Park will change, but for the time being, the team hopes to build a new stadium along with other facilities like hotels, parks, gyms, offices, and even residences. The Bears’ new home field will undoubtedly get the most attention, and the organization disclosed that they’re considering building an enclosed stadium to shield the players and supporters from the weather. Say farewell to the Bears’ weather and hello to the chance to host prestigious national events. While the Bears’ new stadium will probably only host one Super Bowl (cold weather cities usually only host one to celebrate a new stadium opening before the Big Game moves back to warmer-weather cities) they still hope to lure in college games, motocross, and other big events.
Hart Howerton, the guy who was commissioned to develop the Arlington Park project’s master plan, published illustrations of the mixed-use district that would be located near the stadium in November.
Here are some of the renderings: