Arlington Heights administrators hire consultants for Chicago Bears plans
The Village of Arlington Heights Board of Directors approved two resolutions at its Tuesday night meeting for consulting contracts to analyze the economic and traffic impacts of the possible scenario of the Chicago Bears buying and redeveloping the Arlington Park International Racecourse.
Although no deal was finalized, the Bears entered into a purchase agreement with Churchill Downs, owner of the racetrack, to purchase the property.
Hiring the consultants is a distinct step forward in the village’s tenuous back-and-forth with the football team, which on Tuesday released new plans for an entertainment, retail, housing and sport he would develop on the 326-acre property.
The two resolutions approved Tuesday allow for agreements between the village and, individually, Hunden Strategic Partners and Sam Schwartz Consulting LLC. The village would pay Hunden about $118,000 to conduct an economic impact study, and Schwartz would receive about $85,000 to examine transportation impacts. Each of the studies is related to the redevelopment of the property. Although the resolutions state that the consultants are hired by and will work for the village, the money to pay the students will come from the Bears.
Village administrator Jim Tinaglia said the council agreement was a ‘belt and suspenders to help protect us all here’. He said any redevelopment of a site as large as Arlington International Racetrack would merit a similar consultancy contract.
“It’s a big enough project that we absolutely do it, whether it’s the Lions, Tigers or Bears,” he said. “And the funds that are used are taken from the blocked funds of the petitioners. So there is no taxpayers’ money being used.
The village’s chief financial officer explained that Arlington Heights will pay consultants from the village’s capital projects fund but will be reimbursed by the football team.
According to the memo outlining the consultant request, Village staff want Hunden Strategic Partners, which has offices in Chicago, to assess the financial analysis of the Bears’ redevelopment proposal, do the consultant’s own analysis of the plan. and evaluates “all components of the project”. to ensure that the proposed redevelopment outcomes have a net positive fiscal impact on Arlington Heights.
The traffic advisory agreement asks Schwartz, a Chicago-based planning, engineering and design firm, to evaluate transit options for the site, on-site and off-site parking options , the capacity of the site and its immediate surroundings, and to make recommendations.
In a statement accompanying the plans and renderings, team officials say construction would create at least 48,000 jobs and have a $9.4 billion economic impact on the region. When complete, the team says the project would create nearly 10,000 permanent jobs and have a financial impact of $1.4 billion on Chicagoland.
According to its website, Hunden Strategic Partners, which is led by CEO Rob Hunden, consulted on projects based on racetracks in Baltimore and the Chicago White Sox guaranteed rate field.
Tinaglia asked Director of Planning and Development Charles Perkins to “take the bears out of this equation” as he asked if the village would still hire a consultant for another potential redeveloper.
Perkins said yes.
Administrator Mary Beth Canty said she would remain ‘indifferent’ about whether the bears should come to the village until officials answer two questions: ‘Who pays for this and how do we move people? »
But Canty said she welcomes the traffic consultancy contract as a way to get more information about the stadium’s potential impact on public transit.
“It’s visceral to me,” she said, noting that she lives about a mile and a half from the stadium’s proposed location. “I myself am worried.”
Village manager Randy Recklaus said the consultation agreements were meant to ensure that if the bears move forward with redevelopment of the site, which is subject to a purchase agreement, the village would see real benefit from them. welcome.
“There have been unsuccessful stadium deals,” he said. “We want to make sure we are one of the successful ones.”
The Bears are scheduled to hold a community meeting at John Hersey High School Thursday at 7 p.m. to answer questions from residents about their newly released plans.