The Chicago Bears and Arlington Park owner Churchill Downs Inc. have signed a $197.2 million purchase and sale agreement for the iconic racetrack and the sprawling property surrounding it, officials announced Wednesday morning.
Although Churchill has agreed to the sale, the closing of the 326-acre property at Euclid Road and Wilke Avenue is subject to the satisfaction of various closing conditions, officials at the Louisville, Kentucky-based racing and gambling corporation said in a news release.
Churchill anticipates closing the sale in late 2022 or early 2023. The company plans to use the proceeds to purchase or invest in replacement property that qualifies as an Internal Revenue Code §1031 transaction, the release said.
In a separate joint statement also sent just after 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Churchill, the Bears and Arlington Heights village officials confirmed the agreement was signed this week for the property that has hosted horse races since 1927.
“We are excited to have executed a purchase and sale agreement for the Arlington Park property,” Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips said. “We are grateful to Churchill Downs Incorporated for their efforts to reach this point. We also appreciate the support of Mayor Tom Hayes and the Village of Arlington Heights. Finalizing the PSA was the critical next step in continuing our exploration of the property and its potential.”
Phillips noted that “much work” remains to be completed, including working closely with Arlington Heights and surrounding communities, before closing.
“Our goal is to chart a path forward that allows our team to thrive on the field, Chicagoland to prosper from this endeavor and the Bears organization to be ensured a strong future,” he said. “We will never stop working toward delivering Bears fans the very best experience. We will continue to provide updates on our progress at the appropriate time.”
Churchill first announced in February it was selling Arlington Park. CEO Bill Carstanjen on Wednesday called the sale an extraordinary process and congratulated the Bears on submitting the winning bid.
“It is clear they are committed to an exciting vision for their team and their fans. We wish them the greatest success and are excited for the opportunity this brings to the Village of Arlington Heights and the future economic development of this unique property,” he said.
“I could not be more excited about the news that the Chicago Bears have signed a purchase and sale agreement to buy the Arlington Park property in our community,” Hayes said. “My goal for any redevelopment has always been to put this prime piece of real estate to its highest and best use, and I can’t think of a higher and better use than this one.
“There is a long way to go as we begin this journey, and many issues for the community to discuss, but the village is committed to working with the Bears organization and all stakeholders to explore this opportunity for Arlington Heights and the Northwest suburban region.”