Chicago Construction News staff writer
Proposals for renovations of Soldier Field were presented, following a report from the Museum Campus Working Group.
“An improved Soldier Field will deliver a world-class visitor experience,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “Furthermore, any of these proposed renovations will allow Soldier Field to retain its role as an economic engine for Chicago for years to come, as these changes will allow us to keep bringing sports, music and other exciting events to our city.”
The report, Where Worlds Connect, details recommendations to enhance the Museum Campus.
The team of stadium engineers, designers, and financial experts with deep NFL experience has not only developed options which maximize the existing footprint of Soldier Field but also debunked the previously-held assumption that Soldier Field cannot be domed. The options include:
- Option 1: Fully enclose the stadium by rebuilding both endzones with columns that can support a dome structure.
- Option 2: Rebuild both endzones with columns to make the stadium dome ready.
- Option 3: Modify Soldier Field to be a multi-purpose stadium better suited for soccer while improving its flexibility to accommodate major concerts and a range of events.
Over several months, the athletic facilities subgroup met with experts to review the current market, national and international competition from other event venues, and what Soldier Field needs to become a best-in-class visitor experience.
“I am excited to share these proposals for Soldier Field,” said Richard S. Price, Executive Chairman of Mesirow. “Any of these options has enormous potential to spur economic growth for Chicago and contribute to making the Museum Campus a global, year-round destination.”
Options 1 and 2 transform Soldier Field into a top tier NFL stadium and all three proposals include concourse space improvements and preserve historical components of Soldier Field including the colonnades.
It is anticipated the project cost will range from $900 million to $2.2 billion – significantly less costly than building a new stadium.
Additional measures to provide new amenities include:
- Expand seating from 61,500 seats up to 70,000 total seats including additional fan activation areas.
- Increase the number of traditional suites from 133 to 140.
- Add six new major club and experiential areas, none of which exist in Soldier Field as it stands today.
- Quadruple the food and beverage square footage from 50,000 sq. ft. to 200,000 sq. ft.
- Add secondary club and activation areas to as many as 20.
- Dramatically expand the opportunity for major sponsorships and naming rights.
- Create more flexible event space and multi-purpose venues including up to 4 venues with capacity ranging from 5,000 to 60,000 or more.
“These proposed renovations would vastly improve the visitor experience for hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans and tourists alike,” said President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and member of the Museum Campus Working Group Jack Lavin.
“Adding new amenities to Soldier Field for private events and public use will support the Museum Campus and the entire city of Chicago and drive vital revenue and job growth for our city’s small and mid-size business community.”