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Posted 2021-09-29 18:07:19  
Arlington Racecourse Sold

Arlington International Racecourse owner Churchill Downs Inc. announced Sept. 29 that it has sold the 326-acre track property in Arlington Heights, Ill., to the Chicago Bears.

CDI said it had signed a purchase and sale agreement with the NFL team, which will pay $197.2 million for the property. The Bears could use the property to build a new stadium or negotiate a better deal on their current stadium, Soldier Field.

"Finalizing the (purchase and sale agreement) was the critical next step in continuing our exploration of the property and its potential," said Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips. "Much work remains to be completed, including working closely with the Village of Arlington Heights and surrounding communities, before we can close on this transaction.

"Our goal is to chart a path forward that allows our team to thrive on the field, Chicagoland to prosper from this endeavor, and the Bears organization to be ensured a strong future. We will never stop working toward delivering Bears fans the very best experience. We will continue to provide updates on our progress at the appropriate time."

Oddly enough, CDI had owned Hollywood Park before selling that property in 2005 to the Bay Meadows Land Company for $257.7 million. Today SoFi Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, resides on that property.

CDI noted that there were a number of bidders for the Arlington property.

"This has been an extraordinarily competitive bid process," said CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen. "Congratulations to the Chicago Bears for their professionalism and perseverance. It is clear they are committed to an exciting vision for their team and their fans. We wish them the greatest success and are excited for the opportunity this brings to the Village of Arlington Heights and the future economic development of this unique property."

In a Bears release, Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes was optimistic about the land's future.

"I could not be more excited about the news that the Chicago Bears have signed a purchase and sale agreement to buy the Arlington Park property in our community," Hayes said. "My goal for any redevelopment has always been to put this prime piece of real estate to its highest and best use, and I can't think of a higher and better use than this one.

"There is a long way to go as we begin this journey, and many issues for the community to discuss, but the Village is committed to working with the Bears organization and all stakeholders to explore this opportunity for Arlington Heights and the northwest suburban region."

The Chicago Tribune reports that Soldier Field, capacity 61,500, is the smallest NFL stadium currently in use. The paper also noted that the Bears also would be able to develop the land around Arlington with shopping, dining, and entertainment if it moves forward on a stadium at the location.

According to the Tribune, The Bears' lease at the stadium runs through 2033, and an investigation by the paper found the team would have to pay $84 million in damages to the city of Chicago if it breaks the lease in five years. The two sides likely would enter into negotiations to reach a financial settlement, officials said.

There was no immediate information on any possibility of continuing racing at the site. Earlier this month CDI did not apply for race dates in 2022. Hawthorne Race Course was granted 76 Thoroughbred race dates, a reduction in dates for the Chicago area from this year when both Hawthorne and Arlington operated. Hawthorne plans to run separate meets of Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds in 2022.

Bloodhorse

Image South African The Apache demoted in the Arlington Million 

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