Landmark Improvement CEO on the way forward for Soldier Subject

Rendering of the Soldier Subject redevelopment plan. Courtesy of Landmark Chicago Pursuits, LLC

With mayoral debates and boards kicking into excessive gear, we maintain listening to the query: “What ought to the town do to maintain the Bears?”

Why it issues: The group has constantly signaled they need to construct a brand new stadium in Arlington Heights, even after the town proposed billions in perks to maintain them at Soldier Subject.

Between the traces: The group’s hiring of CEO Kevin Warren — who led the Vikings’ development of U.S. Financial institution Stadium in 2016 — appears to cement the fact that they are leaving.

  • Perhaps the true query for the candidates ought to as a substitute be, “What would you do with Soldier Subject?”

State of play: Earlier this month, Landmark Improvement launched a video depicting a glowing redevelopment of the district-run stadium.

  • However might that truly be a actuality? Justin caught up with the corporate’s CEO, Bob Dunn, to seek out out.

Justin: How does your Soldier Subject redevelopment plan stack up in opposition to the higher stadiums within the NFL?

Dunn: “I have been engaged on sports activities and NFL stadium growth for over 25 years, and I actually consider that there isn’t any comparable location — within the coronary heart of one of many world’s most enjoyable cities — on this nation. A redeveloped Soldier Subject would not simply make the most effective of the present venue, it may grow to be the perfect stadium on the earth with the fitting imaginative and prescient.”

  • “By maintaining about 70% of the present stadium, the redevelopment might price $1 [billion] to $1.5 billion lower than constructing a brand new stadium from the bottom up.”
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Justin: Within the teaser video, I seen you did not use the phrase “Bears” and even “soccer.” Why?

Dunn: “Soldier Subject is an iconic public asset that will likely be with us whether or not the Bears proceed to play there or not. I feel we are able to agree that the stadium is at present poor in some ways, however our video reveals how it’s really potential to provide gamers and followers the superior expertise that they count on, whereas preserving the stadium’s iconic character.”

  • “If the Bears ought to determine to depart, we nonetheless consider that there must be a future for Soldier Subject. We’re engaged on a revised model of this plan for a situation the place the stadium is used for occasions — from worldwide sporting occasions to smaller neighborhood actions.”

Justin: The Bears have proven little curiosity in coming again to Soldier Subject. The problems of dimension and possession looms giant. So why ought to the Bears even take into account your plan for redevelopment?

Dunn: “The Bears are below contract with the vendor of the property in Arlington Heights, and I respect that, however on the identical time, the ultimate resolution will not be but made. Landmark would not have studied this location, put collectively these plans, and developed this video if I did not really consider that we might deal with what the group and the town need.”

Justin: The Solar-Occasions and the Trib editorial boards each got here out in opposition to this redevelopment due to the danger that taxpayers would foot the invoice with no sports activities group. Why would a redeveloped Soldier Subject be within the taxpayers’ curiosity?

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Dunn: “So first off, it is a imaginative and prescient for what Soldier Subject might grow to be. It’s achievable and helpful, or Landmark wouldn’t have shared this.”

  • “We discover it attention-grabbing that the editorial boards would criticize a plan that protects the way forward for an vital civic asset — a plan funded by personal {dollars} — but they supply no rationalization for what occurs to this constructing if there isn’t any plan for enchancment to Soldier Subject.”
  • “That end result will grow to be an albatross for the taxpayers of Illinois.”

Editor’s notice: This story and headline have been corrected to mirror that the corporate planning the redevelopment of Soldier Subject is known as Landmark Improvement, not Landmark Preservation.