The Chicago Bears are one step closer to moving out of the city after signing a purchase and sale agreement for the entire Arlington Park land parcel in Arlington Heights.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was quick to react since reports started trickling out Tuesday night. The Bears called Lightfoot to inform her of the move as well.
Lightoot has pointed the finger at the Bears for break downs in talks regarding renovating and upgrading Soldier Field.
"They actually got to come to us and tell us what they want," Lightfoot said on Mully and Haugh. "We have been open to a conversation. They have not."
Lightfoot added: "We can't operate in the dark. I don't have a magic eight ball to divine what the Bears want. ... Come to us. Tell us what you're interested in. Let's see what we can get done and if it makes sense for us and you. But I can't negotiate by myself."
Presently, Soldier Field has the smallest capacity of any NFL stadium. Chicago's cold weather coupled with an open-air stadium has prevented Chicago from working it's way into rotation for big money making events other domed stadiums host, like a Super Bowl, Final Fours, Wrestlemania, college football championship and bowl games.
Lightfoot also noted she is "going to do everything I can to keep the Bears in the city of Chicago" and suggested the city is open to building a domed stadium at the Soldier Field site.
"We have an iconic asset on our lakefront," Lightfoot said. "We got to think bigger than just a season that stands from August to hopefully January."
The Bears do have a lease at Soldier Field that runs through 2033. Historically, the NFL has not broken lease agreements and Lightfoot stated she has no intention to let the Bears out of it. That gives Chicago some time to get the Bears to reconsider, and while the location of Soldier Field might be ideal from a visual and fan perspective, it might not be for the Bears.
By owning the entire land parcel in Arlington Heights, the Bears have the opportunity to not only build a stadium under their control, but property around it. Including hotels, casinos, restaurants and apartments, similar to what the Dallas Cowboys did at their practice facility in Frisco, Texas.
That revenue stream might be too significant to pass up in order to stay in Chicago.