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Yea it’ll be great.

“Let’s hear it for your hometown Arlington Heights Bears, playing at the lovely Walmart stadium in downtown, errrrr, whatever” please enjoy shopping for shotty made merchandise at any of our 10 retail stores, or maybe grab a bite at one of our several Applebees. Parking will be $40, make your check out directly to George McCaskey please. Go Bears!”
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I don't care where they build the thing. I just want the Bears to have a modern sporting complex like other successful teams.

I believe it will be in AH, but unless you are a Chicagoan, who really cares? All looks the same on my TV from down here in Dallas.
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dplank wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 12:20 pm Yea it’ll be great.

“Let’s hear it for your hometown Arlington Heights Bears, playing at the lovely Walmart stadium in downtown, errrrr, whatever” please enjoy shopping for shotty made merchandise at any of our 10 retail stores, or maybe grab a bite at one of our several Applebees. Parking will be $40, make your check out directly to George McCaskey please. Go Bears!”
Please no Applebees, they have rats.

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IotaNet wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 11:22 am Everyone Loses from Taxing Bodies' Stadium Project Greed
Analysis: Bears owner Kevin Warren wasn't bluffing about a dome in Chicago and blame for lack of potential tax revenue rests with three school disticts' greed.
Wait, the Bears have a new owner? The McCaskeys have sold the team to Kevin Warren? When did this happen? Why isn't it headline news?! Where are all the street parties?
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Despite $1B cost, mayor open to helping develop area around proposed new Bears stadium on lakefront

Mayor Brandon Johnson has already cracked the door open to providing a public subsidy to build a new, $1.2 billion White Sox stadium in the South Loop, provided the team and its developer “put some skin in the game.”

On Thursday, he did the same for the Bears.

That’s despite the $1 billion price tag on the team’s ambitious plan to develop the land around a domed lakefront stadium with a hotel, sports museum and pedestrian bridge to Northerly Island. Plans also include expanding or moving exit ramps off DuSable Lake Shore Drive.

“We love the Bears in the city. … they’ve made a commitment to stay in Chicago," Johnson said, adding that without the "great conversations" he's had with Bears President Kevin Warren, that commitment to Chicago over a suburban site "was not something that was likely to happen."

While there are still ongoing conversations "to make sure that the investments in the city of Chicago have public benefit," Johnson said, "I can tell you this for sure: Whatever investment we make, the investment has to be committed to creating more housing, jobs [and] having a sustainable, clean economy. That’s what my administration has put forth and these are the conversations that we will continue to have before we make any further commitment.”
...

Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th), Johnson’s hand-picked Education Committee chair, believes public subsidies for both new stadiums should be a non-starter.

“Hell no ... We shouldn’t be giving them subsidies to do anything. They’re … billion-dollar franchises. They can afford it. Honestly, I’m really tired of all of them. They’re always coming to Chicago to beg,” Taylor told the Sun-Times.

“How much money [do] the Bears and the Sox invest back in the city? And I’m not talking about no damn free tickets. Help us build up some park districts. Adopt some of these schools. Help us have free programming in communities we know need it. At that point, maybe we can talk about some subsidies for them. But, until they come to the table with a package that we call can benefit from, they can take that somewhere else.”

Full article: https://chicago.suntimes.com/city-hall/ ... on-johnson
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Subsidizing a stadium (or two) in downtown Chicago will be fraught with legal challenges, protests, and compromises over what was originally planned. The Bears won't own the land, and they won't have a piece of any of the restaurants and shopping around the stadium. There is nowhere on the waterfront that they can build a $2B modern stadium without completely remaking things like Lakeshore Drive and any number of the parks and green spaces along the lake. You can't go much further south than 39th or 47th, because you risk losing a portion of the season ticket holders who wouldn't want to make the trek to the south side of Chicago for their Bears games, nor would the NFL want to hold a major event if they thought they couldn't keep the fanbase safe. Perception is reality, and the perception is the southside of Chicago is not safe. Unfortunately as this this whole process moves forward, I have less and less faith that the McCaskey's are actually going to make the smart business decision. Whether due to nostalgia or George not wanting to look like a villain, they will will make the wrong choice, and greenlight some half-assed domed stadium in Chicago, and fuck the whole thing up.
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As a fan, I don't give a shit where they build a stadium. Chances are I probably will not be able to see them in person anyway. Unless, they really suck and people unload their tickets really cheap (like December 2018). I don't care what it looks like outside of the field. I don't watch games for the ambiance. I will say, it makes much more sense to build in AH since they own the land.
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HisRoyalSweetness wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 4:01 pmAld. Jeanette Taylor (20th), Johnson’s hand-picked Education Committee chair, believes public subsidies for both new stadiums should be a non-starter.

“Hell no ... We shouldn’t be giving them subsidies to do anything. They’re … billion-dollar franchises. They can afford it. Honestly, I’m really tired of all of them. They’re always coming to Chicago to beg,” Taylor told the Sun-Times.

“How much money [do] the Bears and the Sox invest back in the city? And I’m not talking about no damn free tickets. Help us build up some park districts. Adopt some of these schools. Help us have free programming in communities we know need it. At that point, maybe we can talk about some subsidies for them. But, until they come to the table with a package that we all can benefit from, they can take that somewhere else.”

Full article: https://chicago.suntimes.com/city-hall/ ... on-johnson
I'm a die-hard Bears (and Sox) fan but I absolutely love this.

She's 100% right.
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The problem of course is that they may very well "take it somewhere else".

Years ago I was living in Frederick, MD and there was a big micro brewery there called Flying Dog. My daughter worked there for a short bit, met her husband there - we know at least 20 people that worked there and they employed over 100. They left over a tax subsidy fight. I remember thinking how stupid it was that the business was asking for these tax breaks that "normal people" don't get, and was firmly in favor of telling them to fuck off. Then of course they left, because another location was happy to give them the tax breaks they were asking for. 100+ people lost their jobs. The state lost out on their income tax, and also had to help subsidize them with unemployment and other benefits. It was short sighted thinking IMO, there's always someone else out there who will be ready to pounce on an opportunity like this. Capitalism isn't always pretty.
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dplank wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 8:15 am The problem of course is that they may very well "take it somewhere else".

Years ago I was living in Frederick, MD and there was a big micro brewery there called Flying Dog. My daughter worked there for a short bit, met her husband there - we know at least 20 people that worked there and they employed over 100. They left over a tax subsidy fight. I remember thinking how stupid it was that the business was asking for these tax breaks that "normal people" don't get, and was firmly in favor of telling them to fuck off. Then of course they left, because another location was happy to give them the tax breaks they were asking for. 100+ people lost their jobs. The state lost out on their income tax, and also had to help subsidize them with unemployment and other benefits. It was short sighted thinking IMO, there's always someone else out there who will be ready to pounce on an opportunity like this. Capitalism isn't always pretty.
The breaks just have to be somewhat in line with the "return" you get from giving them. In my city about 15 years ago the city agreed to help fund making sure a site that was slated to be an IT park had all the necessary infrastructure including high speed internet with massive band width (I'm not an IT guy so if I'm not using the right terminology please forgive me). The result was Hewlett-Packard moved here and in 3 years was employing over 1200 people. It was a great move for the city. With the increased tax revenue, they were able to increase the amount of money being used for bike paths and dedicated green space. That in turned made the city more attractive for other similar businesses as it appears those are factors their employees look for when deciding what city they want to move to. Not sure how many people are employed in the business there now, but it's a significant number for a town of just shy of 70,000. Also, the salaries are well above the average salaries here. (We are seeing lots of businesses move here as with a salary of $100,000 here can live a very good life style, in New York and other major cities not so much).
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Arkansasbear wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:32 pm
dplank wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 8:15 am The problem of course is that they may very well "take it somewhere else".

Years ago I was living in Frederick, MD and there was a big micro brewery there called Flying Dog. My daughter worked there for a short bit, met her husband there - we know at least 20 people that worked there and they employed over 100. They left over a tax subsidy fight. I remember thinking how stupid it was that the business was asking for these tax breaks that "normal people" don't get, and was firmly in favor of telling them to fuck off. Then of course they left, because another location was happy to give them the tax breaks they were asking for. 100+ people lost their jobs. The state lost out on their income tax, and also had to help subsidize them with unemployment and other benefits. It was short sighted thinking IMO, there's always someone else out there who will be ready to pounce on an opportunity like this. Capitalism isn't always pretty.
The breaks just have to be somewhat in line with the "return" you get from giving them. In my city about 15 years ago the city agreed to help fund making sure a site that was slated to be an IT park had all the necessary infrastructure including high speed internet with massive band width (I'm not an IT guy so if I'm not using the right terminology please forgive me). The result was Hewlett-Packard moved here and in 3 years was employing over 1200 people. It was a great move for the city. With the increased tax revenue, they were able to increase the amount of money being used for bike paths and dedicated green space. That in turned made the city more attractive for other similar businesses as it appears those are factors their employees look for when deciding what city they want to move to. Not sure how many people are employed in the business there now, but it's a significant number for a town of just shy of 70,000. Also, the salaries are well above the average salaries here. (We are seeing lots of businesses move here as with a salary of $100,000 here can live a very good life style, in New York and other major cities not so much).
Yep, every situation is unique and there's probably as many bad deals given out as there are missed opportunities. Wisconsin literally pushed out dozens of homes for FoxConn to fall way short of their promises.

I spoke with an executive at a large firm who helped negotiate a large incentive package for his firm and said flat out there was almost zero chance his firm would leave the state, but they had a fiduciary obligation to negotiate in that manner for shareholders. Unfortunately states sometimes will call that bluff and lose. Or meet the bluff and lose out on funds maybe you never needed to. A lot of its a game.
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Interesting developments in Kansas City, which highlights the sort of challenges the Bears may also face:
Voters reject stadium tax for Royals, Chiefs intended to help fund new ballpark, Arrowhead Stadium renovations

The future of the Royals and Chiefs in Kansas City was thrown into question Tuesday night when residents of Jackson County, Missouri, resoundingly voted down a sales tax measure that would helped to fund a new downtown ballpark along with major renovations to Arrowhead Stadium.

Royals owner John Sherman and Chiefs president Mark Donovan acknowledged long before the final tally that the initiative would fail. More than 58% of voters ultimately rejected the plan, which would have replaced an existing three-eighths of a cent sales tax that has been paying for the upkeep of Truman Sports Complex -- the home for more than 50 years to Kauffman and Arrowhead Stadiums -- with a similar tax that would have been in place for the next 40 years.

The Royals, who had pledged at least $1 billion from ownership for their project, wanted to use their share of the tax revenue to help fund a $2 billion-plus ballpark district. The Super Bowl champion Chiefs, who had committed $300 million in private money, would have used their share as part of an $800 million overhaul of Arrowhead Stadium.
...

Donovan said the Chiefs would do "what is in the best interest of our fans and our organization as we move forward."

That could mean many things: The Chiefs could try again with a reworked plan more agreeable to voters, change their entire funding approach to include more private investment, or they could even listen to offers from competing cities and states -- such as Kansas, just across the state line to the west -- that would provide the public funding they desire.

"We've been talking a lot about the democratic process. We respect the process," Donovan said. "We feel we put forth the best offer for Jackson County. We're ready to extend the longstanding partnership the teams have enjoyed with this county."

The current lease lease at Truman Sports Complex lasts through Jan. 31, 2031. And while Sherman has said the Royals would not play at Kauffman Stadium beyond the 2030 season, the Chiefs are hopeful of remaining at Arrowhead Stadium.

The tax -- or, more accurately, the stadium plans -- received significant public pushback almost from the start, when the teams struggled to put concrete plans before voters and were accused of lacking transparency throughout the process.

Last fall, the Royals unveiled two potential locations for their ballpark district, one on the eastern edge of downtown and the other across the Missouri River in Clay County, Missouri. But a self-imposed deadline to finalize their location lapsed without a plan, and in February, they finally announced they had scrapped both concepts and chosen a different downtown spot.
...

"I think everyone has the same mixed feelings," said Deidre Chasteen, a voter from Independence, Missouri, who remembers attending games downtown at old Municipal Stadium when the Royals played there from 1969-72.

"It's not that we mind paying the three-eighths-cent sales tax. I think the problem is putting the stadium where it is," Chasteen said. "We're saying don't ruin businesses that have been established down there for years."

The club also had not reached sales agreements with many landowners in the Crossroads, and other businesses had expressed concerns about traffic, congestion and parking in an already thriving residential neighborhood.
...

While the Royals insist on playing in a new ballpark, the Chiefs wanted to stay put with a renovation that would have touched every aspect of their 52-year-old building, from the seating bowl to luxury amenities to the tailgating scene.

"We would not be willing to sign a lease for another 25 years without the financing to properly renovate and reimagine the stadium," Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt, whose father, Lamar Hunt, helped get the existing stadiums built, said before Tuesday's vote. "The financing puzzle is very important to us to make sure we have enough funds to do everything we've outlined."

The Chiefs had hoped their success, including three Super Bowl titles in the last five years, would sway voters in their favor.

"What my dad loved best about the stadium was the connection the team had with our fanbase," Hunt said. "He loved this building for what it means to the fans, and we still believe it is one of the best stadiums in the National Football League and a bucket-list destination for fans across the NFL."

Full article: https://www.nfl.com/news/voters-reject- ... ansas-city
...
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dplank wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 8:15 am The problem of course is that they may very well "take it somewhere else".

Years ago I was living in Frederick, MD and there was a big micro brewery there called Flying Dog. My daughter worked there for a short bit, met her husband there - we know at least 20 people that worked there and they employed over 100. They left over a tax subsidy fight. I remember thinking how stupid it was that the business was asking for these tax breaks that "normal people" don't get, and was firmly in favor of telling them to fuck off. Then of course they left, because another location was happy to give them the tax breaks they were asking for. 100+ people lost their jobs. The state lost out on their income tax, and also had to help subsidize them with unemployment and other benefits. It was short sighted thinking IMO, there's always someone else out there who will be ready to pounce on an opportunity like this. Capitalism isn't always pretty.
I always wondered why that brewery left ... thanks for the beery history lesson
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Otis Day wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:12 am As a fan, I don't give a shit where they build a stadium. Chances are I probably will not be able to see them in person anyway. Unless, they really suck and people unload their tickets really cheap (like December 2018). I don't care what it looks like outside of the field. I don't watch games for the ambiance. I will say, it makes much more sense to build in AH since they own the land.
I am 100% with you on this ... wherever the stadium may be, I will probably only get minimal opportunities to actually be in it during a Bears game

I recall being able to go to a lot of Bears games in high school because the Bears sucked very much and tickets were given to us by various family member and friends season ticket holders ... the joy from those experiences was blunted by the team's high suck factor ... but I never really turned down a ticket ... I mean, I was going to see the Bears and their constant losing had not yet beaten down my blind enthusiasm ... now I know better, and watching on tv is good enough
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Boris13c wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 11:49 am
Otis Day wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:12 am As a fan, I don't give a shit where they build a stadium. Chances are I probably will not be able to see them in person anyway ...
I am 100% with you on this ... wherever the stadium may be, I will probably only get minimal opportunities to actually be in it during a Bears game ... and watching on tv is good enough
The other part of this IMO, is that the broadcast experience has gotten SO much better. I remember the Super Bowl party we had when the Bears won in '86. We had two 27-inch TV's set up in my mom's living room and we thought we were really something.

Fast forward to the Super Bowl party I just hosted in February. An 85-inch TV in one room and a 60-inch in the other. High definition, surround sound & subwoofers with both. All with instant replay, and color commentary. Not to mention a full buffet spread with drinks, as well as three available bathrooms.

I believe that attending a football game is cool, but the at-home experience is so good these days that its often preferable to the hassles (driving, parking, expensive eats, obnoxious fans) of being there in person.
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I do love Sunday games at home, but I would be a season ticket holder if I lived there. There’s just no substitute for live football IMO.
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I still think Arlington Heights is the best solution for the Bears. The Lakefront is such a pain in the ass to get into and out of. I got no dog in this fight because I go to Chicago about once every 15 years or so. So I do not really care. Game looks the same on my TV no matter where they play. Those game day shots of downtown are all file footage any way. Only the shots clearly from the stadium showing the skyline are live. And even those I am not always sure. Like I said before, I really do not care where they build, but downtown lake front is just not realistic. I have actually never been in the UFO Soldierfield. Last game i was at was 2001 Bears versus 49ers. Now that was a great ending.
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HisRoyalSweetness wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 7:29 am Interesting developments in Kansas City, which highlights the sort of challenges the Bears may also face:
Voters reject stadium tax for Royals, Chiefs intended to help fund new ballpark, Arrowhead Stadium renovations

The future of the Royals and Chiefs in Kansas City was thrown into question Tuesday night when residents of Jackson County, Missouri, resoundingly voted down a sales tax measure that would helped to fund a new downtown ballpark along with major renovations to Arrowhead Stadium.

Royals owner John Sherman and Chiefs president Mark Donovan acknowledged long before the final tally that the initiative would fail. More than 58% of voters ultimately rejected the plan, which would have replaced an existing three-eighths of a cent sales tax that has been paying for the upkeep of Truman Sports Complex -- the home for more than 50 years to Kauffman and Arrowhead Stadiums -- with a similar tax that would have been in place for the next 40 years.

The Royals, who had pledged at least $1 billion from ownership for their project, wanted to use their share of the tax revenue to help fund a $2 billion-plus ballpark district. The Super Bowl champion Chiefs, who had committed $300 million in private money, would have used their share as part of an $800 million overhaul of Arrowhead Stadium.
...

Donovan said the Chiefs would do "what is in the best interest of our fans and our organization as we move forward."

That could mean many things: The Chiefs could try again with a reworked plan more agreeable to voters, change their entire funding approach to include more private investment, or they could even listen to offers from competing cities and states -- such as Kansas, just across the state line to the west -- that would provide the public funding they desire.

"We've been talking a lot about the democratic process. We respect the process," Donovan said. "We feel we put forth the best offer for Jackson County. We're ready to extend the longstanding partnership the teams have enjoyed with this county."

The current lease lease at Truman Sports Complex lasts through Jan. 31, 2031. And while Sherman has said the Royals would not play at Kauffman Stadium beyond the 2030 season, the Chiefs are hopeful of remaining at Arrowhead Stadium.

The tax -- or, more accurately, the stadium plans -- received significant public pushback almost from the start, when the teams struggled to put concrete plans before voters and were accused of lacking transparency throughout the process.

Last fall, the Royals unveiled two potential locations for their ballpark district, one on the eastern edge of downtown and the other across the Missouri River in Clay County, Missouri. But a self-imposed deadline to finalize their location lapsed without a plan, and in February, they finally announced they had scrapped both concepts and chosen a different downtown spot.
...

"I think everyone has the same mixed feelings," said Deidre Chasteen, a voter from Independence, Missouri, who remembers attending games downtown at old Municipal Stadium when the Royals played there from 1969-72.

"It's not that we mind paying the three-eighths-cent sales tax. I think the problem is putting the stadium where it is," Chasteen said. "We're saying don't ruin businesses that have been established down there for years."

The club also had not reached sales agreements with many landowners in the Crossroads, and other businesses had expressed concerns about traffic, congestion and parking in an already thriving residential neighborhood.
...

While the Royals insist on playing in a new ballpark, the Chiefs wanted to stay put with a renovation that would have touched every aspect of their 52-year-old building, from the seating bowl to luxury amenities to the tailgating scene.

"We would not be willing to sign a lease for another 25 years without the financing to properly renovate and reimagine the stadium," Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt, whose father, Lamar Hunt, helped get the existing stadiums built, said before Tuesday's vote. "The financing puzzle is very important to us to make sure we have enough funds to do everything we've outlined."

The Chiefs had hoped their success, including three Super Bowl titles in the last five years, would sway voters in their favor.

"What my dad loved best about the stadium was the connection the team had with our fanbase," Hunt said. "He loved this building for what it means to the fans, and we still believe it is one of the best stadiums in the National Football League and a bucket-list destination for fans across the NFL."

Full article: https://www.nfl.com/news/voters-reject- ... ansas-city
...
Seems the Royales messed up by not having concrete land and construction plans in place before going to the public. Pushback from several of the proposed areas re traffic, etc. The Chiefs seems like they're not wanting to pony up the lion's share for renovations. The Bears have said they will put up $2B of their own money but have said a Chicago project would need $1B in public funding; haven't seen any such figures for an AH project.
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If I was making the call for the Bears, I think it has to be AH. They get to own the stadium and all the revenue that comes from it - Final 4, Super Bowl, Disney on Ice, etc. They also get to develop the land how they want and reap those profits - sell land a a crazy high price to hotels or enter into long term leases with them and have a constant source of money flowing in.

Just like with Justin - business is business - and it seems like that is clearly their best business decision. Fans that want it on the lakefront will be upset for about a day. When it opens with all the extras, they will forget. Jerry's world with the Cowboys is a pretty amazing thing. Heck, I have some friends that go a few times a year that don't even have tickets to get in as they say that during the game it's an amazing experience.
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Arkansasbear wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 12:17 pm If I was making the call for the Bears, I think it has to be AH. They get to own the stadium and all the revenue that comes from it - Final 4, Super Bowl, Disney on Ice, etc. They also get to develop the land how they want and reap those profits - sell land a a crazy high price to hotels or enter into long term leases with them and have a constant source of money flowing in.

Just like with Justin - business is business - and it seems like that is clearly their best business decision. Fans that want it on the lakefront will be upset for about a day. When it opens with all the extras, they will forget. Jerry's world with the Cowboys is a pretty amazing thing. Heck, I have some friends that go a few times a year that don't even have tickets to get in as they say that during the game it's an amazing experience.
I agree with everything you've said, and I still think AH is the ultimate destination that Warren has in mind.

The biggest problem the Bears had was they were negotiating against themselves when AH was considered a fait accompli. It's in their best interests to make everyone believe that Chicago is firmly in play. They have managed to create the perception that AH overplayed their hand and that gives them back some leverage.

As I've said over and over from the very beginning of this thread, with a project this massive, the right palms need to be greased and the right interests have to get their turn at the feeding trough before the final deal gets done.
Last edited by IotaNet on Thu Apr 04, 2024 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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What has happened in other cities with proposed publicly funded stadiums:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/202 ... ms-do-next

Decidedly a mixed bag. Some cities and states don't require referendum votes. Some teams have tried several times to get funding after initial attempts failed.
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Supposedly a fight has broke out in AH over the Bears' plans. Folk are screaming at the school districts asking if they're willing to forego tax revenues which, although maybe not as big as they'd desire, would still be larger than almost any other development(s) on the property and allow for significant improvements in the schools:

https://www.sportsmockery.com/chicago-b ... ium-issue/
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Grizzled wrote: Fri Apr 05, 2024 9:49 am Supposedly a fight has broke out in AH over the Bears' plans. Folk are screaming at the school districts asking if they're willing to forego tax revenues which, although maybe not as big as they'd desire, would still be larger than almost any other development(s) on the property and allow for significant improvements in the schools:

https://www.sportsmockery.com/chicago-b ... ium-issue/
If I was advising the school districts on how to handle it, I would tell them to give in right now. Set the value at what it was when the racetrack was running or what the Bears paid for it. In fact I'd tell them to use the lower figure. Let them get everything built and then when it gets re-assessed, play hard ball. They aren't moving at that point.

To be clear, I would have done this on the front end. You'd have to add some conditions to it now. You don't want to get locked into a value you cant' get out of if you truly think it's low.

Given the stance the Bears have taken with the lakefront property, I might tell the school to enter into an agreement in which they acknowledge the value is "far" below the actual value but are agreeing to this term to help speed up the building process and have an agreement that the value will be reassessed in 3-5 years (whatever the time line would be to get it built).
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Grizzled wrote: Fri Apr 05, 2024 9:49 am Supposedly a fight has broke out in AH over the Bears' plans. Folk are screaming at the school districts asking if they're willing to forego tax revenues which, although maybe not as big as they'd desire, would still be larger than almost any other development(s) on the property and allow for significant improvements in the schools:

https://www.sportsmockery.com/chicago-b ... ium-issue/
And as the article says, this is exactly what Kevin Warren wants.

In another thread, I spoke about the Bears making "BOSS LEVEL" moves and this is a prime example. Warren walked into a situation where the Bears were negotiating against themselves at AH and he's completely turned that around. Now the AH folks are in disarray and Warren gets to sit in the catbird seat and let them come to him.

Warren got hired for a reason -- he knows exactly what he's doing.
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Bears put lakefront stadium cards on the table with state agency key to funding deal

The Bears held their first meeting this week with the state agency they need to help bankroll a new domed stadium on the lakefront.

Frank Bilecki, executive director of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, said Bears president Kevin Warren is eyeing the same portion of city's hotel tax that the White Sox hope to use to build a new, $1.5 billion stadium in the South Loop.

With the spring legislative session entering a critical juncture, the Bears and Sox have intensified negotiations in an attempt to hammer out a joint financing package that divvies up the bonding capacity and plugs funding gaps.

No increase is contemplated in a tax on Chicago hotel rooms that is already among the highest in the nation, Bilecki said.

“Both teams appear to understand that the continuation of the 2% hotel tax is unlikely to pay for two new stadiums and pay off the legacy [outstanding] stadium debt,” Bilecki told the Sun-Times.

“Which, I assume, is part of the ongoing discussion between the teams. That’s up to them to try and figure out. ... It’s the million-dollar question. We’ve got to wait to see what they propose.”

White Sox spokespman Scott Reifert said the Sox "are in conversations with the Bears" and "the questions you're asking" about funding gaps are "the questions everybody's working on" resolving.

Bilecki described his late Tuesday meeting with Warren and Karen Murphy, executive vice president of stadium development and chief operating officer for the Bears, as “introductory.”

The Bears reiterated their commitment to invest more than $2 billion in private money in a domed lakefront stadium south of Soldier Field. Bilecki said he was shown renderings of the exterior and interior of the stadium.

“There was a potential hotel, but not a specific location for the hotel,” Bilecki said. “There were playing fields for other sports and activities in the area where Soldier Field is now. ... Restaurants and bars were also mentioned, depending on financing. There was a Hall of Fame area as well. Transportation improvements at a high level were discussed. And the McCormick Place busway was mentioned as an opportunity to alleviate congestion.”

Experts have pegged the cost of a domed lakefront stadium in Chicago at anywhere from $2.5 billion to $3 billion. Warren has refused to say where the additional construction costs would come from.

Nor has he said who would be asked to pay the formidable cost of demolishing everything but the historic colonnades and war memorial at Soldier Field, and how the $1 billion-plus in infrastructure improvements he envisions would be financed.
...

Full article: https://chicago.suntimes.com/bears/2024 ... op-funding
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And more from another article from the Sun Times:
Bears in a hurry to build domed lakefront stadium, but Friends of the Parks says, ‘Not so fast’

Bears President Kevin Warren sounds like a man in a hurry when it comes to building a domed stadium adjacent to Soldier Field. But the advocacy group that has long served as the lakefront’s primary protector is saying, “Not so fast.”

Gin Kilgore, acting executive director of Friends of the Parks, is not about to go along with what she called Warren’s “Buy now, this deal won’t last!” sales pitch. The Bears met with Friends of the Parks March 21 and gave leaders of the group a glimpse of the team's vision for a lakefront stadium.

“We need to slow down ... We need a lot of scrutiny because this isn’t just about the lakefront. ... It’s about public financing. It’s about community development. ... The Bears ...were going to leave us for three years and now, they want to come back,” Kilgore said.

“When I think about how long it takes to build a park or a school, it just boggles the mind. That just because you’re a billionaire or a power broker, that all of a sudden you can snap your fingers and say, `This is the timeline. ... That the norms and the rules don’t quite apply to us as they do with other people.’ That’s the part that has, just really honestly, stunned me. … It seems like we have to, `Buy now or you’ll lose this deal forever.'”

Kilgore said she appreciates the relationship that Mayor Brandon Johnson has forged with Warren after decades of historic tension between the Bears and City Hall.

Johnson's ability to get along with people undoubtedly helped persuade the Bears to set aside plans to build on the old Arlington International Racecourse site that the team spent $197.2 million to acquire.

But now that the Bears are laser-focused on remaining in Chicago and investing $2 billion in private money to help build a domed stadium, Kilgore believes it’s time for Johnson to take the lead by “inviting the Bears to consider alternative locations” like the Michael Reese Hospital site near Bronzeville once envisioned as the venue of an Olympic Village that was never built.

“We bring up the Michael Reese site because it’s also something that we were proposing for the Lucas museum. And … it’s a site that needs development," Kilgore said. "The lakefront doesn’t need economic development. It needs improvements. … We need better access to the lakefront.”

The Michael Reese site would still provide TV viewers with “that lakefront backdrop” that the Bears and the NFL covet for game-day broadcasts, she said. But the Bears have said that parcel is too narrow for a stadium.
...

Even after the limited detail the Bears provided to Friends of the Parks during their first and only meeting, Kilgore said it’s tough to imagine a domed stadium, hotel, restaurants, bars and sports museum passing legal muster with laws that prohibit new construction east of DuSable Lake Shore Drive.

“It’s really easy to think, `More green space. More access. ... A serene stadium that doesn’t affect the vistas. Oh, it could be so lovely.’ And I’m like, `Wait a second. ... Do they need a hotel?’" Kilgore said. "For what they say they want, it’s just really hard for me to imagine how it could work.”

Preventing new construction east of DuSable Lake Shore Drive is not the only issue. Climate change issues posed by building “so close to the lakefront" are also at stake, she said.

And, Kilgore added, “What about the financing? Where does investment need to happen. There’s just so many questions."

Kilgore refused to say whether Friends of the Parks would file a lawsuit to block construction of a domed lakefront stadium. She’s committed to “continued conversation” with the Bears.

“We do not want this on the lakefront. … We do not think it’s a good idea. But we don’t know exactly what they’re proposing,” Kilgore said. "We’re not going to be pressured to accept or not accept a plan that isn’t even concrete.”

Warren has said he's eager to get moving on the stadium project. He has warned that construction costs could escalate by as much as $200 million for every year that the team waits.

Ful article: https://chicago.suntimes.com/fran-spiel ... in-kilgore
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From today’s Daily Herald.

Like a BOSS …
Least-hairy option’: School leaders believe Arlington Heights Bears stadium still in play

Three Arlington Heights-area school district superintendents say they’re being mischaracterized for potentially quashing the deal to bring the Bears to town, and questioned whether the team’s shift back to the Chicago lakefront is really about taxes in the suburbs.
They also believe the team’s previously-proposed redevelopment of Arlington Park is still a strong possibility.

The superintendents of Northwest Suburban High School District 214, Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 and Palatine Township Elementary District 15 spoke about their closed-door meetings with Bears President and CEO Kevin Warren that took place in January in the lead-up to the Cook County Board of Review’s ruling on the 326-acre former racetrack’s property value.

The interview followed a Daily Herald Freedom of Information Act request of the three districts for email communications about the Bears, and the superintendents’ meeting calendars for the past year.

In a Dec. 14 email, District 214 Superintendent Scott Rowe requested a meeting with Warren “to clear up any misconceptions about the property tax issue” after months of haggling by attorneys for both sides.

That led to a Jan. 18 meeting at Halas Hall in Lake Forest with Warren, Rowe, District 211 Superintendent Lisa Small and District 15 Superintendent Laurie Heinz.

“He said what he learned in his stadium building days in Minneapolis was that he has to have a backup plan, and he is going to keep both cities in play until the least-hairy option emerges for the direction to go with the stadium,” Rowe said. “His plan all along is to keep both places in play. … We actually think Arlington Heights is very much still in play. He's currently testing out Chicago.”

Six days after that meeting, which Rowe described as positive, the same major players met on Microsoft Teams for a property tax settlement discussion, records show.

Two days later, they met again in person — this time at District 214’s offices and with tax attorneys for both sides — to exchange settlement offers for the value of the Bears’ property in Arlington Heights.

Rowe said the schools’ “best and final” offer at that Jan. 26 meeting was above $100 million, but below the $124.7 million the board of review determined the following week.

The Bears rejected the offer, the superintendents say.

“We didn't battle with them. We negotiated with them,” Small said. “We gave them options. … We gave them deals that they didn’t take.”

A Bears spokesman wouldn’t comment on the nature of the internal discussions about property taxes but did confirm the club has formally appealed the board of review’s decision to the state’s property tax appeal board.

If the first panel’s decision stands — and if both sides still can’t arrive at a settlement — the Bears would have to pay $8.9 million on their 2023 tax bill.

After closing on its $197.2 million purchase of the shuttered racetrack in February 2023, the Bears announced in July that Arlington Park was no longer its “singular focus” — citing the property’s higher reassessment — and began entertaining offers from other municipalities, including Naperville, Aurora, Waukegan and Chicago.

Last month, the Bears announced their focus is now on trying to develop a domed stadium on the south parking lot of Soldier Field.

Top team brass has long said they were looking for “property tax certainty” ― as Chairman George McCaskey put it in September 2022 ― as well as public subsidies, to make their $5 billion Arlington Park redevelopment vision a reality. They also said buying the property didn’t necessarily mean they were going to develop it.

But Rowe believes the organizational shift in focus from the suburbs back to the city has to do with the change in leadership of team president — from Ted Phillips, who inked the initial deal to buy Arlington Park before retiring, to Warren, who for months has spoken of his affinity for the Chicago lakefront.

“It raises the question: Is it really about taxes?” Rowe said. “Because if it was about taxes, we’re talking about a multibillion-dollar organization, looking to build a multibillion-dollar property and wanting multibillion-dollar tax incentives, and they won’t commit on less than $2 million of a difference. It doesn’t make logical sense that it’s really about taxes.”

“It's not about us being in the way,” Rowe continued. “It’s about what the CEO of your organization wants as the new guy into this equation.”

The superintendents say they haven’t spoken to Warren since the board of review decision.

Full article here: https://www.dailyherald.com/20240406/ne ... l-in-play/
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And more from Friends of the Park:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/fran-spiel ... in-kilgore

Sounds like they're gearing up for a full-blown battle over a Bears stadium on the South Lot.

Warren has said that each year the Bears don't start development will add $200 million to the project.
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Grizzled wrote: Sat Apr 06, 2024 10:33 am And more from Friends of the Park:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/fran-spiel ... in-kilgore

Sounds like they're gearing up for a full-blown battle over a Bears stadium on the South Lot.

Warren has said that each year the Bears don't start development will add $200 million to the project.
Friends of the Park will file injunctions to stop development, basing it on ecological impact, infrastructure impact, etc. And then file appeals to injunctions that are denied. I'm guessing it would take 3-5 years of legal challenges before they could even break ground. That's breaking ground on property they don't own. This downtown nonsense is a power play with AH. Nothing more.
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IotaNet wrote: Sat Apr 06, 2024 10:01 am From today’s Daily Herald.

Like a BOSS …


But Rowe believes the organizational shift in focus from the suburbs back to the city has to do with the change in leadership of team president — from Ted Phillips, who inked the initial deal to buy Arlington Park before retiring, to Warren, who for months has spoken of his affinity for the Chicago lakefront.

“It raises the question: Is it really about taxes?” Rowe said. “Because if it was about taxes, we’re talking about a multibillion-dollar organization, looking to build a multibillion-dollar property and wanting multibillion-dollar tax incentives, and they won’t commit on less than $2 million of a difference. It doesn’t make logical sense that it’s really about taxes.”

“It's not about us being in the way,” Rowe continued. “It’s about what the CEO of your organization wants as the new guy into this equation.”



"You have assets and revenue that we want. Therefore, we deserve an extra 2 million to allow you the privilege to operate in our district! And if you're not willing to lose an extra 2 million, then it's not us that's holding this deal up!"
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