Historic Chicago Landmark Set For Demolition

Published May 4, 2023 at 11:56

The Bears are poised to make a huge move that will transform the face of Arlington Park forever. The Chicago Tribune reports that the team has filed paperwork to initiate demolition at the historic racetrack. Although the team officials have disclosed that the first phase would only involve gutting the grandstand's interior, the possibility of an exterior demolition looms large.

The reason for the proposed demolition seems to stem from the surge in the property's value, causing a significant increase in property taxes from $3 million to a staggering $16 million. As a result, the Bears might be seeking to diminish the property's value to avoid paying a higher tax rate. A hearing on the matter is scheduled to take place in June, where the Bears hope to reduce the tax value by more than $37 million.

The history of Arlington International spans more than 80 years of struggles and successes. Described as «the most beautiful track in America», Arlington began Thoroughbred racing on October 13, 1927, when more than 20,000 fans braved the cold weather to celebrate the event in high style.

The move to demolish the property would be a massive cost-cutting strategy for the team, as maintenance expenses will be slashed. In the same vein, it would also significantly reduce their tax bills. The Bears stated in a published statement that paying property taxes is a critical aspect of being a community member and that they aim to pay their fair share. However, the proposed assessment of the unoccupied property's taxes is over five times what the property generated when it was still a racetrack.

The Bears bought the land measuring 326 acres in February, and since then, the team has been making plans to redevelop the property. Although the team has not divulged any concrete plans, the move to demolish the property hints at an imminent redevelopment project that could change the area's entire landscape.
May 4   |   463 answers
Historic Chicago Landmark Set For Demolition

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