The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Assessing the viability of the Chicago Bears’ lakefront stadium plan

Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears unveiled their renderings for a proposed stadium on the city’s lakefront April 24, which includes 14 additional acres of recreational park space and athletic fields.

Last month, the Chicago Bears announced their proposal for a new state-of-the-art stadium near the lakefront.

The $4.7 billion project in Burnham Park would include a new publicly owned multi-use stadium. It would be located south of Soldier Field and would be a major component of a year-round park-based culture and recreation center.

“I am optimistic about it,” sophomore Stephanie Briggs said. “My main concern, especially with recent proposals from other teams, is the idea of having a partially government-funded stadium.”

She also added that, as a student, the plan wouldn’t affect her much. But she wondered about the impact on the average taxpayer, which could have a huge effect on the city’s future. 

The Bears said they would contribute $2 billion. The rest would come from an NFL loan, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority and a 2% city hotel tax. The Bears claim the city will gain billions more in revenue because of fans and year-round events the stadium brings in.

Taxpayers see this as a bad answer, and civilians don’t agree either way because they pay for utilities with their own money, like gear, parking, food and tickets.

Similarly, former Bears’ linebacker Lance Briggs weighs in on the proposal standpoint. The linebacker wondered if a “multibillion-dollar investment” would really “turn that much of a profit.”

Junior Nick Palazzolo said he knows the stadium price tag sounds like a lot to many Chicagoans. 

“I’m not exactly an architect. I’m not a business owner, so I can’t tell you how much it should cost and how much it will cost,” Palazzolo said. “But …  (Las) Vegas and Los Angeles have three to four $5 billion projects, and building a stadium is not cheap.”

Palazzolo said it will be important for the residents of Chicago and all of Illinois to voice their opinions on the proposal since the project would involve their tax dollars. Though, he doubts the Bears can make everyone happy.

The stadium, which would be next to Soldier Field, would have a dome and contain a similar structure to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. 

It would have a framework like Las Vegas and a building design that would show off Chicago’s skyline and lakefront.

Additionally, it would allow visitors to see glorious insights around the city and provide private seating for exceptional wide areas and observation lines.

The proposal assures year-round activities for recreational and community events as well as an uplift in open green areas, including an expanse of 14 acres of athletic fields and parking space for fans and visitors, including those who use the fields for youth sports programs.

Some recreational events include mini football games, baseball games, an outside view of the city and concerts.

Along with recreation, there will also be community events. Like outdoor festivals, retail stores, concession stands and small businesses.

Moreover, the project focuses their dedication on Diversion, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Having said that, the plan is created to provide the city and state’s diverse populace, giving equal access to resources and materials.

Daniel Azzaro, a DePaul marketing and advertising professor and Chicago resident, offered his perspective on the stadium proposal’s economic impact if it is approved.

“Question is, how much do you want the team to stay? What’s the economic impact?” Azzaro asked. “The economics have shown that people paying (and) cities and states paying for other people’s stadiums just doesn’t have the economic impact that they say what they need to do.”

Azzaro also emphasized that as the site is a publicly owned partnership, the city retains control over “real property” over the lack of necessary skills. As a result, the Bears would receive an excessive share of the revenue split. He also stated that ordinary fans are unaffected by these issues and do not care about the situation.

Overtime, fans have mixed viewpoints. Since taxpayers will be included in the revenue split, the franchise’s future is at ease.

With that, the Bears aim to start the project next summer, including a huge grand opening in summer 2028.

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