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Bears expected to unveil plans for new lakefront stadium on Wednesday

Chicago Bears to reveal plans for new stadium on Wednesday
Chicago Bears to reveal plans for new stadium on Wednesday 00:23

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Chicago Bears are preparing to make a big announcement about their bid for a new stadium on the lakefront.

The team is planning to hold a press conference with city officials on Wednesday to unveil their plans for a new publicly-owned stadium on the Museum Campus, including additional park space and improved access to the lakefront.

In March, the Bears announced they were prepared to commit more than $2 billion to help build a new stadium in Chicago, but have yet to say how much public financing they would seek to help build a replacement for Soldier Field.

Wednesday's announcement would provide the first look at what the Bears have in mind for a new stadium in Chicago.

According to published reports, the Bears plan to build a new domed stadium along the lakefront, while tearing down most of Soldier Field, while preserving the iconic colonnades and war memorial honoring the nation's veterans.

Last year, the Bears finalized the purchase of the 326-acre Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights for $197 million.

The team had previously said they were planning to develop the site into a $5 billion sports, retail, residential, and entertainment district centered around a domed stadium, but have been unable to reach a deal with local government and school officials on property taxes for the site, and have since turned their focus to staying in Chicago.

Mayor Brandon Johnson has said any plans the Bears might have for a new lakefront stadium must have a public benefit.

"That's what I've been pushing," Johnson said last month. "They also recognize that we have a fiduciary responsibility with private and public partnerships to ensure that there's an ultimate benefit as well as not the heavy burden that historically has been the case when it comes to these negotiations." 

Johnson said any plans for a new Bears lakefront stadium should ensure it can be used 365 days a year, rather than just on days the Bears are playing, in addition to more public green space on the lakefront.

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