The Chicago Bears’ proposed stadium alongside Lake Michigan mixes old with new, featuring a translucent roof and a multi-story glass wall. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Bears.

Chicago Bears fans have been abuzz following a flurry of activity from the team in recent weeks. The Bears recently drafted quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft and unveiled renderings of a potential new stadium. The proposed stadium alongside Lake Michigan mixes old with new, featuring a translucent roof and a multi-story glass wall. It would replace Soldier Field.

Designed by Manica Architecture, the renderings depict a multi-purpose recreational campus featuring a three-acre promenade and plaza area, food and beverage outlets and retail shops. The stadium will complement the existing architecture but add modern touches, including an enclosed, fixed roof, a towering glass wall offering views of Chicago’s skyline and lakefront, intimate seating for improved sightlines and open spaces for congregating.

Bears officials say the new stadium will result in more than $8 billion in regional construction economic benefits. The city will also see a $456 million annual economic impact post-construction, the creation of 43,000 regional construction jobs and 4,200 permanent jobs post-construction. Annual tax revenue from ongoing operations is projected to be 58% higher for Chicago and 41% for Illinois with the replacement stadium over the current operation of Soldier Field.

The Bears have pledged to contribute more than $2.3 billion to the project, which is expected to cost $4.7 billion overall. The remaining stadium funds are proposed to come from the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA). Officials say the proposal can be accomplished with the existing 2% hotel tax used to back ISFA bonds.

However, opposition to the new stadium has been fierce. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker expressed doubt about the project, particularly about calls for taxpayer funding. Illinois legislative leaders are also doubtful.

Pritzker’s press secretary issued a release stating that “the current proposal is a non-starter for the state. To subsidize a brand-new stadium for a privately owned sports team, the Governor would need to see a demonstrable and tangible benefit to the taxpayers of Illinois.”

The Bears hope to break ground in the summer of 2025, with a planned opening in the summer of 2028.

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