Mayor Lightfoot Announces Proposed Renovations to Soldier Field

Soldier Field Renderings via Landmark Development

On Monday, the Mayor’s office announced new proposals for renovations of Soldier Field. These proposals come as a result of the findings and recommendations of the Mayor’s Museum Campus Working Group. YIMBY recently reported on the Museum Campus Working Group’s published report, Where Worlds Connect, which details the scope of the plan to update the Museum Campus.

In the press release, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot stated, “An improved Soldier Field will deliver a world-class visitor experience. Furthermore, any of these proposed renovations will allow Soldier Field to retain its role as an economic engine for Chicago for years to come, as these changes will allow us to keep bringing sports, music, and other exciting events to our city.”

Soldier Field Renderings via Landmark Development

The Museum Campus Working Group is also overseeing existing Athletic Facilities. This part of the effort is led by Martin Cabrera, CEO of Cabrera Capital, included focuses on the future of Soldier Field.

Soldier Field Renderings via Landmark Development

A team of stadium engineers, designers, and financial experts led by Landmark Development president, Bob Dunn, has developed options that maximize the existing footprint of Soldier Field and has worked out how to dome the famed sports venue. The options laid out in the release include:

  • Option 1: Fully enclose the stadium by rebuilding both endzones with columns that can support a dome structure.
  • Option 2: Rebuild both end zones with columns to make the stadium dome ready.
  • Option 3: Modify Soldier Field to be a multi-purpose stadium better suited for soccer while improving its flexibility to accommodate major concerts and a range of events.

Options 1 and 2 would grant top-tier NFL stadium status. Each option involves substantial programmatic changes and concourse space improvements while preserving important historical components of Soldier Field including the colonnades.

The cost of each option is still being finalized, with ranges expected to fall between $900M to $2.2B which is significantly less expensive than a new stadium. According to Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar, city officials will conduct an economic impact study over the course of the next few months which will contain financing plans for each of the three proposals. A full timeline for completion of the study has not been released.

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5 Comments on "Mayor Lightfoot Announces Proposed Renovations to Soldier Field"

  1. Steve River North | July 27, 2022 at 11:28 am | Reply

    None of these seem to add more seats, Bears issue #1. They are going to Arlington Heights deal with it. Do not waste taxpayer money on this.

  2. I don’t care about the Bears, but just when you thought nothing could be worse than the last Solider Field renovation, they propose turning it into a giant crock pot or pressure cooker.

  3. sigh. both comments are legit. It’s cold @ soldiers field – it doesn’t fit the 21st century, but isn’t that the point? Maybe Optima could turn it into a condominium with a giant gym in the center atrium?

  4. Admittedly, I do not care about football at all and can care less if the Bears move out of town, but why are they doing it exactly? Is it solely just for a newer and larger stadium? Why Arlington Heights and not somewhere like South Works? I know it’s not really a desirable neighborhood and traffic would still be an issue, but its empty land and a stadium can serve as a catalyst for development in that area.

    But they seem to have their eyes set on Arlington Heights which makes me think this decision is more about politics than just a shiny new stadium, no?

    • They have had issues with the city for years over what they can and cannot change at Soldier Field. The Bears are not allowed to take ownership of the stadium because it is public parkland + east of LSD.

      They chose Arlington Heights because the old horse racetrack there announced it was closing shop. It’s a massive plot of land that is perfect for a football stadium. And the racetrack had its own Metra stop, which means the new stadium would. That’s huge and something they don’t have in the city (Soldier Field doesn’t even have a reasonably close L stop!)

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