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Are the Chicago Bears actually staying in Chicago?!

In the latest twist in the ongoing efforts to secure the Chicago Bears a new stadium, reports indicate that the team is focusing on the lakefront and not on Arlington Heights.

The belief has been for a couple of years that the Bears were focused on developing the former Arlington racetrack into a stadium after they acquired the property in 2023.

But since they closed on the property last February, negotiations between Arlington Heights school districts and the team over the property taxes of the land have caused a stalemate.

According to Greg Hinz with Crain’s Chicago Business, the decision to re-focus efforts on a new stadium along the lakefront is not just a tax negotiating tactic with Arlington Heights, but the real goal of the team.

Hinz said if the team gets its way, the Bears could go public with an expansion project into the south lot of Soldier Field, featuring a brand-new, state-of-the-art domed stadium that could play host to the NCAA Final Four, Super Bowls, and other big name events that have eluded Chicago, in addition to the usual Bears games every Sunday during the NFL regular season.

That stalemate, coinciding with changes in Chicago’s mayor, from Lori Lightfoot to Brandon Johnson, as well as Bears president from Ted Phillips to Kevin Warren, has helped the team re-focus on Chicago.

Sources say the Bears have funding issues with Arlington Heights, but the city of Chicago is more flexible. The Chicago Park District is ready to make some concessions in this matter and that the possibility of having the Chicago White Sox and the Bears with brand-new stadiums miles apart would be huge for tourism.

The Bears are looking at the current South Lot area, going so far as to hire a firm to explore options for that area.

The long and short of it is, there is still a long way to go, but the Bears aren’t done in Chicago and this saga is long from being over.