Bally’s details plan for $1.6bn Chicago casino resort

Bally's Corporation has submitted a proposal to the City of Chicago to develop and operate a $1.6bn Bally's Chicago casino resort.
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Bally’s Corporation has submitted a proposal to the City of Chicago to develop and operate a $1.6bn Bally’s Chicago casino resort.

Bally’s has proposed two potential sites: The Chicago Tribune Publishing Center, located on the corner of Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street, and the McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard.

At either venue, the firm notes that Bally’s Chicago will be its flagship property and “showcase the best of Chicago in its programming”.

Bally’s states that the Tribune site is not far from shops, restaurants, and other cultural attractions and is easily accessed by public transportation. Meanwhile, the McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard offers an “entertainment destination that connects Chicago’s convention hub with the vibrant, predominantly African American Bronzeville community and would turn the underutilized site into a significant source of tax revenue for the City”.

Soo Kim, Bally’s Chairman, commented: “Chicago is a dynamic, world-class city, which is why we are committing to make a $1.6bn investment in establishing Bally’s Chicago as our flagship, and the only property in its class in the Chicagoland market.

“This property will be built, owned, and operated by Chicagoans, with a focus on minority and women investors, contractors, suppliers, consultants, and employees. It will generate tax revenue, create good-paying jobs, and attract international, national, and local visitors for generations to come.”

To be built in two phases, the $1bn first phase will feature 2,700 slot machines and 95 table games, with room for expansion of gaming space and/or other amenities; a 100-all suite luxury hotel; an outdoor music venue for performances seating 500 to 1,000, green space; dining options; and pop-up entertainment by local artists.

Upon achieving an expected investment return threshold on phase 1, Bally’s Chicago will expand its footprint with an additional $600m investment to add up to 4,000 total gaming positions; a 400-room hotel tower with a rooftop pool and bar; an amenity terrace; 3,000-seat flexible indoor entertainment venue; a 20,000-square foot exhibition space with both a Chicago sports museum and rotating immersion exhibits; and an expanded food and beverage program.

In response to the city’s request that a temporary facility operates while the permanent facility is being developed, Bally’s Chicago intends to operate a temporary facility adjacent to the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center site.

Bally’s adds it intends to leverage the airport visitation by utilizing a portion of the available 4,000 gaming positions allocated to the project and will work with the City to right-size the number of positions to be placed at O’Hare and Midway airports, noting that it will “capture incremental customers for Bally’s Chicago and generate additional tax revenue for the city”.

Bally’s Director Wanda Y Wilson said: “From design and build to operations and ownership, Bally’s Chicago is committed to providing meaningful leadership roles, well-paying jobs, and investment opportunities for all Chicagoans—especially MBE/WBE/VBE/DBE-certified firms and minority and women residents.

“I have spent my career in gaming, and am proud to be a director and investor in Bally’s. Its commitment to innovation, culture, and diverse ownership makes it a leader in the industry. Everyone knows the Bally name, and that global recognition will attract visitors to Bally’s Chicago.”

Bally’s is also committed to a series of hiring goals, which will be accomplished through workforce development partnerships with community-based organizations, non-profits, and city colleges of Chicago.

George Papanier, Bally’s President, Retail, stated: “This team will bring together broad, diverse perspectives and experience to collaboratively build an entertainment destination of which all Chicagoans can be proud.

“In pulling together this team, Bally’s supports minority- and women-owned firms that would not otherwise have the capacity to bid on a project of this scale, and, in the process, further enhancing their credentials and ability to compete individually on future large-scale projects. Additionally, given our longstanding track record as a labor-friendly operator, we look forward to working with local unions on this exciting project.”