When Kevin Warren decided to turn his back on the ambitious plan to develop the 326-acre parcel in Arlington Heights, people offered suggestions as to where the Bears should build their new stadium if Chicago ends up being where Warren ultimately decides the new stadium is built.
The Mayor of Chicago could have done the smart thing, but this is Chicago. The city has a history of taking advantage of the Bears and the McCaskey family. At every turn, Chicago Mayors have routinely turned their back on the idea of building a showcase facility to bring in Super Bowls, College Bowl games and national championships, and World Cup matches, concerts, and conventions. Every year the city settles for $Millions in lease revenue from the Bears, when the city could realize Billions in revenue each year.
When the idea of building a new stadium for the White Sox mere blocks away from Soldier Field surfaced recently, it showed how short-sided Chicago politicians are. Building a baseball stadium in the area known as the 78 is a mistake. What’s the point when only 12-15,000 people will attend games? If the Mayor and city politicians were serious about keeping the Bears in Chicago, why not offer the “78” to them and then build a new baseball facility in the south lot of Soldier Field?
It only proves the city is far from willing to work with Kevin Warren in good faith to find a suitable spot for a fixed-roof facility.
A few locations have been discussed since Warren revealed the Arlington site is no longer the team’s sole focus, but the 78 was never mentioned. The land once occupied by Michael Reese Hospital, the parking lot to the south of Soldier Field, and building a stadium in Lake Michigan in the area currently known as Burnham Harbor have all been suggested.
Recently, a new suggestion was posted in the Chicago Sun-Times editorial column. Guaranteed Rate Field could be demolished once the Sox move to the south loop, and the Bears’ new stadium could go there. A closer look shows this does not fit in Kevin Warren’s vision.
The location is another 3-4 miles further south from Soldier Field, destroying Warren’s vision of a stadium offering impressive views of the Chicago skyline. The majority of season ticket holders live in the northwest suburbs. Placing the Bears stadium farther away from their ticket holders is less than ideal. Out-of-town visitors for events like the Super Bowl and other national events would be within walking distance from a new stadium at the 78 and hotels and the great restaurants nearby. That benefit would be eliminated with the stadium miles away.
It’s time for Warren to realize the city of Chicago and the Mayor’s office are only giving the Bears lip service and turn his attention to the site in Arlington Heights. A scaled-back plan to build the stadium and parking, with an area for fans to watch home and away games in a park-like setting with video boards on both ends of the park for fans to enjoy. The shops, restaurants, hotels, and other attractions can come years later.