The Chicago Bears and a trio of faculty districts whose monetary assets stand to be impacted by the soccer workforce’s proposed redevelopment of Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights are deadlocked over how a lot the Bears ought to pay in property taxes for the location.
Team President and CEO Kevin Warren mentioned in a May 4 letter to a few college district superintendents that their proposal of a $95 million valuation for the property is a “non-starter” and “not viable.” The valuation would consequence within the Bears paying $7.9 million in yearly property taxes.
“This is an excessive sum for property that will sit idle and will have no commercial use for at least the next two years,” Warren wrote.
The Bears countered by proposing annual tax funds of $4.3 million, and referred to as for returning to the negotiating desk.
Warren’s May 4 letter, obtained by Pioneer Press, addressed collectively to the superintendents of Palatine Community Consolidated School District 15, Arlington Heights-based Township High School District 214 and Palatine-based Township High School District 211, marks the newest skirmish in a monthslong forwards and backwards about property taxes the Bears would pay to native public colleges as they search to develop the 326-acre former horseracing venue.
The superintendents have mentioned the college districts would doubtless see a rise in scholar inhabitants ought to the soccer workforce transfer ahead with the proposed sprawling, roughly $5 billion mixed-use industrial and residential growth. But, college leaders mentioned, district assets might take a success if the workforce prevails in its request for a lowered property tax invoice or frozen taxes through institution of a tax increment financing district.
The superintendents collectively wrote a reply letter to Warren dated May 12 stating that they see their urged $95 million valuation for the previous racetrack as a good pitch.
“We do not see the need to make a counteroffer at this time,” their letter reads.
The Bears first agreed to buy the property referred to as Arlington Park for $197 million in fall 2021 and closed on the property in February 2023.
The college districts that pull property tax income from the location have been following developments intently since a minimum of May 2022, when SD15 Superintendent Laurie Heinz wrote to Arlington Heights village leaders and inspired them to not set up a TIF district to assist the Bears’ pitch.
Leaders from every of the college districts have mentioned they assist the Bears’ transfer from Soldier Field on the lakefront within the metropolis to northwest suburban Arlington Heights however have been leery of the proposed growth’s affect on their districts respective property tax revenues.
The Bears had beforehand requested Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi to worth the property at $37 million. For tax 12 months 2022, the assessor’s workplace valued the property at $197 million.
Kaegi’s reassessment of the land worth would elevate the workforce’s property tax invoice to $16 million, up from $2.8 million when the property was in use as a racetrack.
That evaluation is being appealed. A listening to is scheduled June 2 earlier than the county Board of Review.
In the meantime, the college districts recommend the land valuation be $95 million, in accordance with the correspondences.
“It is our firm belief that this offer provides the clarity and fairness CBFC Development needs, while maintaining the integrity of the property tax system on which school districts depend and protecting other taxpayers within our communities who do not receive such large reductions in their assessments,” the superintendents’ letter reads.
Additionally, District 214 spokeswoman Stephanie Kim mentioned $95 million represents a attainable “reasonable compromise” between the assessor’s estimate and the Bears’ ask.
The workforce just lately filed paperwork with the village to demolish the historic grandstand on the racetrack
Warren argued in his letter that the earliest the location would have industrial use can be 2026. He referred to as on the districts to succeed in an settlement with the workforce on the worth of the land.
“There is no property in the surrounding Northwest Suburban Area that pays property taxes anywhere close to this,” he wrote. “The time is now to close the deal on this immediate short-term tax issue in a way that is mutually beneficial and enables all parties to focus together on the future and give this project the best chance of moving forward.”
The workforce “has a sincere interest in being a valued member of the community and paying our fair share of taxes during the planning period and, if we are able to redevelop the Arlington Park Property, in the long term,” Warren wrote.
School district leaders have mentioned they proceed to assist growth on the website and plan to satisfy with the workforce over the summer season.
“The School Districts fully support the redevelopment of the Arlington Park site, but will not support a taxpayer subsidy for the Bears that is in any way detrimental to local schools,” they mentioned collectively in assertion to Pioneer Press.
In addition to direct college district-team negotiations, the three districts labored collectively to rent a lobbying workforce to attempt to form the end result of proposed laws circulating in Springfield that may create a 40-year public financing construction for the redevelopment venture and a cost in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, to the college districts to make up some anticipated misplaced income.
With simply days to go in state legislators’ spring session, neither Senate Bill 1350, its companion invoice within the House nor a 3rd proposal from state Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines, has superior within the Legislature.
Also, Moylan just lately filed House Bill 610, which has similarities to an earlier model he filed in April.And former village trustee and now freshman state Rep. Mary Beth Canty, an Arlington Heights Democrat, has signed on as a co-sponsor of the newest model of Moylan’s invoice.
Canty referred to as the measure “a step forward, but by no means final” and mentioned her co-sponsorship represents “support for continued discussions with all stakeholders engaged.”
Arlington Heights Village Manager Randy Recklaus mentioned Canty’s sponsorship did “not necessarily” replicate village assist for the measure and mentioned the village was nonetheless reviewing the brand new proposal.
“We will be continuing to speak with Representative Moylan, Representative Canty and other contributors,” Recklaus mentioned.