Churchill Downs closes sale of Arlington Heights property to Chicago Bears for $197.2M

Churchill Downs Incorporated announced Wednesday that it closed on the sale of 326 acres of the former Arlington International Racecourse property in Arlington Heights, Illinois, to the Chicago Bears for $197.2 million per the agreement announced in September 2021.

Churchill Downs will apply the proceeds of the sale to the purchase of, and improvements to, the real property previously acquired in connection with the nearly $2.5 billion Peninsula Pacific Gaming acquisition that closed in 2022, according to a news release.

As a result of that transaction, CDI acquired Colonial Downs Racetrack, a thoroughbred racing facility in New Kent, Virginia, as well as six historical horse racing facilities across Virginia, del Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo, New York, and the operations of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Sioux City, Iowa.

“Finalizing the purchase does not guarantee the land will be developed, but it is an important next step in our ongoing evaluation of the opportunity. There is still a tremendous amount of due diligence work to be done to determine if constructing an enclosed state-of-the-art stadium and multipurpose entertainment district is feasible,” said the Chicago Bears, as reported by Louisville Business First.

The Bears have a lease at Chicago’s Soldier Field that runs through 2033, and the Chicago Tribune reported the team would have to pay the city $84 million if it breaks the lease within five years.

Churchill Downs also is renovating its racetrack in Louisville. A three-phase project is underway at the track, including the $45 million Homestretch Club debuting at the Kentucky Derby in 2022.

Churchill Downs is one of Louisville’s largest publicly traded companies, earning $383.1 million in revenue in the third quarter of 2022. Its fourth-quarter earnings call is scheduled for Feb. 23.