The fate of Arlington Park has been signed away. Churchill Downs announced Wednesday that it has a signed a purchase and sale agreement with the Chicago Bears to sell Arlington Park Racecourse for $197.2 million. The property is 326 acres in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
The sale of the property is subject to satisfaction of various closing conditions. CDI anticipates closing on the property in late 2022/early 2023.
"We are excited to have executed a Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) for the Arlington Park property," said Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips. "We are grateful to Churchill Downs Incorporated for their efforts to reach this point. We also appreciate the support of Mayor Tom Hayes and the Village of Arlington Heights. Finalizing the PSA was the critical next step in continuing our exploration of the property and its potential. 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."
"This has been an extraordinarily competitive bid process," said Churchill Downs Incorporated 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."
"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," said Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes. "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 Bears is owned by the McCaskey family and will likely seek public funding for the purchase of the property. The Bears have played at Chicago's Soldier Field since 1971 and have a lease on the property with the Chicago Park District through 2033. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said via Twitter that she is committed to working with the Bears to keep them at Soldier Field.
New stadiums are estimated to cost $1.9 to $5.5 billion based on recently built stadiums around the country.
Arlington Park did not seek 2022 race dates meaning that all racing in the Chicago area will shift to Hawthorne, both Thoroughbred and Standardbred. Hawthorne is building an on-site casino, something CDI would not do at Arlington Park.
Race dates for Hawthorne were announced last week. They will host six months of Thoroughbred dates next year. The number of Thoroughbred racing dates in Chicago will decline from 124 to 76.
January through March will include harness racing. Thoroughbred racing will start in April and run through June. Harness will return in July through September. Thoroughbred racing will restart on September 23rd and run through the end of the year.
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