Bally’s Chicago is one step closer to becoming reality after Chicago City Council’s latest meeting provided almost unanimous support for the $1.7bn development plan.
A major landmark in the project’s timeline, the final vote saw local legislators vote 39-5 in favor of amending Planned Development No. 1426, allowing the construction of Bally’s casino and hotel resort.
Earlier this week, the Plan Commission and Committee on Zoning recommended that the council sign off on the project, paving the way for Bally’s to begin construction work on its flagship resort.
The casino will be located at the 30-acre Chicago Tribune Publishing Center at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street and will offer patrons 3,400 slots, 170 table games, 10 food and beverage venues, and a 500-room hotel tower with a rooftop bar, as well as a 3,000 seat entertainment center, a 20,000 sq ft exhibition, and an outdoor music venue.
Voting in favor, members of the council offered praise for Bally’s across multiple disciplines of the casino’s plans, including its commitment to vendor contracting, workforce development, and equity ownership opportunities for minorities and women.
“This is a significant achievement and another critical step forward in the process of developing Bally’s Chicago,” said Bally’s Chairman, Soo Kim. “We are confident that the casino will bring numerous long-term, positive economic benefits, including good-paying, union jobs, to this great city.”
The move has brought significant political capital to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who has outlined that the introduction of the casino would help to stimulate economic growth in the city as well as fill gaps in pension funds lost as a result of economic headwinds in recent years.
Bally’s has stated that it will turn the ‘underutilized site into a major economic driver for the city.’
Under the provisions of the project, Bally’s would obtain a three-year license to operate a temporary facility whilst the construction of the main site is carried out.
Bally’s Chicago will be built in two phases; the first phase will be the construction of the one million sq ft casino building, 500-room hotel and 3,000-person event space, on top of other renovation works.
Bally’s has been engaged with local and minority groups with regard to the construction of the casino. In October, the firm struck a multi-project labor agreement with the Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council (CCBT) to maintain that local organized laborers will be employed to work on the construction of the site and that underrepresented populations will be involved in the process.
Moving forward, Bally’s still requires full regulatory approval from the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) to operate the casino. The regulator’s website currently details the company’s application process as ‘pending’ as of Aug. 10.
The next meeting of the IGB will be held on Feb. 9.