Updated renderings and plans have been revealed for the redevelopment of Soldier Field in Museum Campus. Built in 1924, the famed structure is approaching its 100-year birthday on the cusp of another complete overhaul similar to the one it received in the early 2000s. The proposal has been in the works for a while now as the city tries to retain the Chicago Bears who are planning to move to Arlington Heights and create their own entertainment complex on the old racetrack grounds.
Originally announced in July of 2022 by Landmark Development, who is also behind the massive One Central mega-development across the rail tracks, a new walkthrough video of the proposed work has been released. It breaks down the project by eight current stadium trends seen across the world including; regional transit access, world class entertainment district, branding and technology, dynamic fan experience, immersive year-round environment, premium guest amenities, social spaces and clubs, and iconic architecture.
Focusing mainly on adding seating capacity to bring the stadium to the 70,000 minimum needed to host the Super Bowl, the stadium work itself would also extend into the aforementioned One Central development. Here is how the plan would conquer each trend:
Regional Transit Access
Utilizing the original plans for One Central, the complex would boast a massive transit hub with access to the CTA, Metra, Amtrak, and the proposed Chi Line that would circulate in the surrounding areas. The multi-level station would feature modern architecture and wayfinding that leads up to the large entertainment district.
Also held within the first phase of One Central, the huge district would cap the aforementioned rail lines and focus on bars, restaurants, museums, art, and more with a central multi-story atrium with massive views onto the stadium. A new pedestrian bridge would connect the two with skyline views and more.
Branding and Technology
Though not much was revealed for this aspect, there will be large moments for company logos, names, and more across not only the exterior facade but also the interior, hinting at a potential naming rights contract if desired.
Dynamic Fan Experience
Arguably one of the main aspects needed for the current structure, the plans include expanding all of the concourses along with new floating platforms for bars and dining, a new war memorial, new platforms, food halls, facilities, and with nearly 150,000 square feet of new amenities.
Immersive Year Round Environment
A new dome would be key to the project allowing for NFL games shielded from the elements during the harsh winter months. This would also aid in allowing the venue to host all types of events including Chicago Fire FC matches covered from any inclement weather. A new exterior amphitheater would also allow for community events to be held.
Premium Guest Amenities + Social Spaces and Clubs
Both of these go hand in hand, a massive new block of VIP suites would be built with rooftop bars and cafes, new skyline view bars, reutilized colonnades with added eateries, screens and interactive elements throughout. This will include multiple hubs of activities as you circle the stadium.
Reutilizing the existing structure as both for seating and historical preservation, the additions would give the stadium more of a standard shape with a massive clear dome on top. Similar to other stadiums, a massive retractable window will open towards the skyline to remind visitors they are in Chicago and all of it would be very visible from the lakefront and Museum Campus.
Though the plans are grand in scale, they will also be grand in cost with estimates going as high as $2.2 billion with no formal information on how it would all be funded. The Bears have also not shown any hints at wanting to stay in the city as one of the main issues they face with the current digs is being one of the few NFL teams that does not own the land and stadium it plays at, which this would not change. The city will continue to try to lure the team to remain due to the money they generate, but no timeline on a decision has been made public either.