Bears, Northwest suburban schools $100 million apart on property value of Arlington Park

As demolition of the Arlington Park grandstand nears completion, elected officials at Arlington Heights village hall declared Tuesday that redevelopment of the old racetrack is their top priority.

The Chicago Bears and three Northwest suburban school districts are $100 million apart on how much they think the NFL franchise’s Arlington Park property is worth.

Attorneys for both sides presented their cases to the Cook County Board of Review Tuesday in a rare public display of the property tax battle that’s taken place mostly behind closed doors for nearly a year.

Scott Metcalf, an attorney representing Northwest Suburban High School District 214, Palatine Township Elementary District 15 and Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211, presented an appraisal valuing the 326-acre property in Arlington Heights at $160 million.

Matthew Tully, an attorney for the Bears, gave a different appraisal suggesting $60 million.

The final property value will determine how much the Bears pay in taxes to the schools and other taxing bodies.

Last year, former racetrack owner Churchill Downs Inc. agreed to settle with the school districts on a $95 million value, for which the tax bill was $7.8 million.

A decision on the 2023 reassessment by the three-member board of review could be weeks away.