Report: City to look into putting a dome on Soldier Field

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(670 The Score) A mayoral committee is set to recommend that the city explore the feasibility of constructing a dome atop Soldier Field, Crain’s Chicago Business reported Tuesday night.

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The move would be part of the city’s hope to entice the Bears to remain at Soldier Field as the organization has taken serious steps toward moving to northwest Arlington Heights. The Bears signed a purchase sale agreement with Churchill Downs Incorporated last September to acquire 326-acre Arlington Park. While nothing is finalized on that front, the Bears continue to explore the potential of the property and the possibility of building their own state-of-the-art stadium there.

Putting a dome over Soldier Field would almost certainly require a taxpayer subsidy, said a draft of a report that Crain’s Chicago Business obtained. That cost to taxpayers has early estimates of $400 million to $1.5 billion, Crain’s Business reported.

The city panel has also proposed other upgrades at Soldier Field, such as rebuilding parts of the stadium, Crain's Business reported.

The Bears haven’t discussed a dome or other upgrades at Soldier Field with the mayor’s office, a team spokesman told Crain’s Business. The organization remains focused on continuing to explore and move forward with the Arlington Park property.

Closing on the Arlington Park property is expected to take until the end of 2022 or into early 2023, the Bears previously said. In January, chairman George McCaskey shed further light on that topic.

“The best way to explain it is anybody who has bought a house or a lot to build a house, there’s a time between when the property is under contract and closing,” McCaskey said. “And during that time, there are things that need to done in terms of due diligence – making sure that there is a clear title to the house or lot. If it’s a lot, determining whether it’s a build-able lot and so forth. A lot of regulations that need to be checked out. Well, on a property of this size, that time between contract and closing is vastly expanded. There’s a lot of due diligence that needs to be performed before we can before we can close.”

The Bears are under contract to lease Soldier Field from the Chicago Park District through 2033, but it’s an agreement that could be broken with a penalty. The Bears’ penalty for breaking the lease would start at $84 million in 2026, the Chicago Tribune has reported.

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