News has just been released that Bally’s Chicago has bagged a huge contract to construct a casino establishment at a 30-acre site at the River West. The project has been reported to comprise of a casino that houses 10 restaurants, a 3,000-seat theater, 3,400 slot machines, a 500-suite hotel, and 170 table games positions. Everything that can be done within a casino and supporting businesses is available here to the delight of locals and foreigners visiting. It is a project that has taken into consideration the diverse needs of most players in various aspects.
The location was previously where the Chicago Tribune printing plant had stood. The operator has already received zoning approval as well as final planning as of December 2022. Considering that the planned opening date is in 2026, the timeline allows for the putting up of a structurally sound premise. Even though the plans are elaborate at this point, there is still widespread concern following a detailed exploration of the foundation by Bally’s management.
The casino is exploring the viability of constructing a 500-room hotel tower proposed to sit along the river at Chicago Avenue. According to the chairman of Bally’s, Soo Kim, the problem that underground water pipes pose was largely unforeseen at the time of approving the original construction plans. When Bally’s made it known to the city authorities that there was a structural issue, both shared the opinion that the initially proposed spot would have been too risky.
Kim has suggested a need to build the tower in a different fashion because all agree that it is not possible to have it constructed on Chicago Avenue. In the plan that had initially been planned, the casino was to have 100 accommodation rooms. The building was to be a 400-room tower standing over it and that would be achieved within the first five years after its opening. It is definitely a tight deadline especially since groundbreaking is yet to be done but the casino management is confident of beating it.
The new plan now proposes that there is to be a 100-room structure running from the north corner of the casino complex to the southern side. Industry stakeholders have singled out the 400-room piece as the hotel tower puzzle that must be relocated. They suggest that it should be transferred to the west side or south side of the casino premises. With this plan, the 400-room tower will turn out to be a bit shorter if the contractor does not build it on top of the base of 100 rooms.
Bally’s had the revised site plan ready and submitted to the city authorities by December. According to the contract, the site plan can be changed within the stipulated time frame. All that a proposer needs to do is present the planned changes and the heavy lifting will be handled administratively by the city officers without having to go back through the whole process of planning and zoning.
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The opening for Bally’s Chicago is in 2026
Even without the hiccups that have just been highlighted, Kim is confident that the casino management is still on track with the completion schedule. Incorporating the new design will not take time nor affect the proposed timelines. The company has plans to break ground for the construction sometime this year and make it in time for the grand opening in 2026. Apart from the physical premises, players can also engage in online casino gaming as the law permits.
With no delay anticipated in any of the steps that will see the completion of the project, the 100-room target will be achieved as has been projected. Well, all involved agree that the best place to build the additional facilities would be on top of the already existing structures since there would be less construction work needed. The main idea behind choosing this route in the construction is so that the contractors would have less work and finish faster.
Bally’s management expects that the final plans for the permanent casino will be ready within a few weeks. In the meantime, it is going to take time to come up with an appropriate location on which the 400-room hotel tower will stand. The mega-casino resort project with an estimated cost of $1.7 billion will be a life changer for the investors as well as the community. Industry experts estimate that more than 3,000 short-term construction jobs and 3,000 permanent job opportunities will be derived from it.
Presently, Bally’s casino based at the Medinah Temple is a temporary location. Since it was opened in September, the population of visitors recorded is close to 350,000. The direct impact of this is the $30.3 million collected in way of revenue. The local government benefit from this level of income has been about $3.9 million in form state tax revenue and more than $3.1 million in local tax revenue.
When deliberating on the suitability of Bally’s new location, the four representatives of the Illinois Gaming Board considered the history of the building as well as the performance of the casino in the past. Mayor Lori Lightfoot was at the center of this proposal given that many generations of mayors before her had tried but failed. Both Kim and Lightfoot agree that there is a lot of work ahead of them but there is definitely hope in a project that is currently riding on approved plans.
The city officials had originally aimed their support at the law enforcement and firefighting departments but this decision is just as good. View it from the scores of tourists it is expected to pull and the thousands of families it will support and everything about Lightfoot’s efforts makes sense. Of course, she stands in a permanent space in history as the mayor who pulled the strings hard enough for something to happen.