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Chicago Bears committing to a new $2 billion stadium in Museum Campus

The Chicago Bears’ push to build a new stadium has shifted focus to a publicly owned domed stadium on Museum Campus, near Soldier Field on the city’s lakefront, according to a source familiar with the plan.

The Bears plan to invest more than $2 billion of private funding into the project, which would also increase open space in the area by 20%, the source said.

That open space would include plazas, paths, landscaped areas, lakefront access and more. That effort — creating more public spaces in the redevelopment of the area — appears aimed at placating preservation group Friends of the Parks, which successfully sued to prevent George Lucas from building a museum along the lakefront and has previously voiced opposition to the team’s construction of any new stadium project on Museum Campus.

A source familiar with the Bears’ plan cited a poll showing 66% of Chicago residents in support of a Museum Campus stadium over the team moving to the city’s suburbs. Previously, a suburban move was long the Bears’ focus, as they purchased 326 acres in Arlington Heights in February 2023 with the intent to develop a stadium district on the site.

Bears President and CEO Kevin Warren confirmed the team’s new intent to stay in Chicago in a statement, saying the team is “committed to contributing over $2 billion to build a stadium and improve open spaces for all families, fans and the general public to enjoy in the City of Chicago.”

“The future stadium of the Chicago Bears will bring a transformative opportunity to our region — boosting the economy, creating jobs, facilitating mega events and generating millions in tax revenue,” Warren continued. “We look forward to sharing more information when our plans are finalized.”