Chicago’s Lightfoot creates working group to consider future of Soldier Field as Bears’ plans remain uncertain

Group charged with drawing year-round tourism to museum campus attractions

Chicago /
Feb.February 09, 2022 10:01 AM

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot (Getty Images, iStock)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot created a working group charged with finding new uses for the 57-acre lakeside museum campus, including Soldier Field, in another sign it may soon lose its main tenant, the Chicago Bears, to the suburbs.

The 23-person group, chaired by Mesirow CEO Richard Price, is expected to provide a set of recommendations by this summer aimed at drawing year-round tourism, according to Crain’s.

Soldier Field is a 61,500-seat lakeside stadium that’s part of the campus. The Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium and McCormick Place are all part of the campus as well.

“In order to maximize the benefits of its valuable assets, as well as address larger issues about the campus, recommendations from dedicated and talented community leaders are absolutely necessary,” the mayor said in a statement, according to Crain’s.

The Bears are considering a move to a 326-acre former racetrack site in Arlington Heights and in September signed a purchase agreement for the locale. Breaking the team’s lease at Soldier Field, which runs through 2033, could cost the team $84 million. The team’s final decision won’t be known at least until the escrow on the Arlington Heights site closes sometime early next year. The team does not have a representative on the working group, according to Crain’s.

Pending casino bids represent another high profile issue for the group to consider. Rivers Casino has proposed one at Lakeside Center, Bailey’s proposal would put one at McCromick’s Place and Hard Rock has proposed a casino near Lake Shore Drive.

Cabrera Capital CEO Martin Cabrera will serve as the group’s athletic facilities lead, Metropolitan Planning Council CEO Darlene Hightower will be transit access lead, Openlands CEO GErald Adelmann will be space and recreation lead and Chicago Cultural Affairs Commissioner Michelle T. Boone will be cultural amenities lead. The group will work with city departments and local aldermen.

[Crain’s] — Harrison Connery





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    A photo illustration of Cook County (iStock)
    Cook County friendlier to homeownership than other markets
    Cook County friendlier to homeownership than other markets
    Bears George McCaskey with Soldier Field
    Minor league baseball complex aired for new Chicago Bears stadium
    Minor league baseball complex aired for new Chicago Bears stadium
    Fritz Kaegi (iStock)
    Chicago Assessor Kaegi wins primary, fending off trade union challenge
    Chicago Assessor Kaegi wins primary, fending off trade union challenge
    The John Buck Company's chairman and CEO John A. Buck II in front of a rendering of the planned two-tower office building project at 655 West Madison Street (The John Buck Company, Juan Gabriel Moreno Architects, iStock)
    John Buck shifts to two-tower plan for West Loop project
    John Buck shifts to two-tower plan for West Loop project
    1134 Taylorsport Lane (Redfin, JS Eckert)
    Life’s a beach at these five Chicago-area lakeside homes
    Life’s a beach at these five Chicago-area lakeside homes
    311 W Walton Street (LoopNet)
    River North office building triples in value since 2014
    River North office building triples in value since 2014
    Tishman Speyer's Rob Speyer with 850 West Washington Boulevard
    Tishman Speyer scraps plan for office tower near Fulton Market
    Tishman Speyer scraps plan for office tower near Fulton Market
    Onni Group’s Duncan Wlodarczak with 700 West Chicago Avenue (LinkedIn, Google Maps, iStock)
    Onni buys Goose Island site near casino site for $45M
    Onni buys Goose Island site near casino site for $45M
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...