City Announces Five Finalists for Chicago Casino; two proposals for McCormick Place are not on the list


CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Tuesday that the city has shortlisted three bids for a casino within Chicago’s city limits.

Two proposals for a casino at or near McCormick Place were not accepted.

The approved proposals are as follows:

Rendering of the casino offered by Bally’s Corporations at the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center. (Source: City of Chicago)

Bally’s Corporation proposal for the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center

Bally’s submitted two separate proposals for a casino in Chicago. The runner-up is a $1.74 billion project at the Chicago Tribune Freedom Center’s 30-acre publishing plant along the Chicago River near Halsted and Ohio streets.

The site would include 3,400 slot machines and 173 table games; a 500-room hotel; six restaurants and cafes, as well as a food hall; three bars and lounges; a 3,000-seat, 70,000-square-foot entertainment hall; 20,000 square feet of exhibit space; a sports museum; and an outdoor/rooftop space with bars, lounges, and pools.

Bally’s is also reportedly looking to place slot machines at O’Hare and Midway airports.

The Chicago Tribune prints its newspapers — and some competitors’ newspapers — at the Freedom Center, but its lease on the site expires in June 2023, with a 10-year renewal option, but Bally’s also has an option to purchase the site.

Bally’s bid for this site includes a temporary facility adjacent to the Freedom Center by retrofitting an existing building.

Bally’s would provide an upfront payment of $25 million to the city receiving this proposal.

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Rendering of the casino proposed by Hard Rock International as part of the proposed One Central development near Soldier Field. (Source: City of Chicago)


Hard Rock Proposal for One Central

Hard Rock International is proposing to build its casino in the massive One Central development project, which itself is just a concept that has yet to receive city or state approval as it seeks a public funding of $6.5 billion.

The One Central development aims to cover a 35-acre rail yard near Soldier Field with a massive platform where developers would build residential, retail, restaurant and office space.

The $1.7 billion casino proposed by Hard Rock as part of the One Central project would include 3,400 slot machines and 166 table games; a 500-room hotel; eight restaurants and cafes and a food hall; six bars and lounges; a 3,500-seat Hard Rock Live, Rock Spa, Hard Rock Music and Entertainment room.

A Hard Rock exhibit provided by the city did not specify whether this proposal would include an upfront payment to the city.

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Rendering of Rush Street Gaming’s proposal for a Rivers Casino project in The 78 megadevelopment between South Loop and Chinatown. (Source: City of Chicago)

Rivers Chicago proposal for the development of 78

Rush Street Gaming proposed this Rivers Casino project in the 62-acre waterfront megadevelopment known as The 78, located between South Loop and Chinatown.

The $2 billion casino proposal for Site 78 would create an eight-acre entertainment district with 2,600 slot machines and 190 table games; a 300-room hotel; eight restaurants and cafes, as well as a food hall; five bars and lounges; a waterfront plaza; an observation tower with indoor and outdoor viewing space; and a Harbor Hall riverside entertainment venue with rooftop space.

The temporary casino for this project would be a riverboat moored on the Chicago River in The 78 development site.

The exhibit provided earlier by the city made no mention of an upfront payment for this proposal.

“We have spent countless hours analyzing each Chicago casino licensing proposal and have determined that Bally’s Tribune, Hard Rock Chicago and Rivers 78 best align with the fundamental goals we want to achieve for the city’s first integrated casino resort. city,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. in a press release. “Each proposal provides economic, employment, and equity opportunities for Chicago, while simultaneously enhancing the city’s cultural, entertainment, and architectural scenes with world-class amenities and design. Our teams look forward to getting started. discussions with the finalists and taking a step closer to completing this decades-long project.”

One of the two bids that were not successful was for a Bally’s Corporation casino at the McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard – a 28-acre staging area for cargo trucks just south of the convention center complex at 31st Street and DuSable Lake Shore Drive. The other was another Rush Street Gaming proposal for a Rivers Casino development at the underutilized Lakeside Center in McCormick Place.

The Lakeside Center has been the subject of redevelopment calls for several years. In 2016, after Friend of the Parks opposed a plan to place the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art on the site of a parking lot south of Soldier Field, Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed demolishing the Lakeside Center and replacing it. put the Lucas Museum there instead.

In the end, movie icon George Lucas decided against building in Chicago. The Lucas Museum is currently under construction in Los Angeles.

For the proposed casino, each of the three finalists and the city will participate in a community engagement meeting where the public can ask questions and provide feedback. The meetings will take place April 5-7 from 6-8 p.m. and will be streamed live. In-person priority will be given to those living in the postcodes where each proposed casino will be built, with additional space on a first-come, first-served basis with a capacity cap of 300.

Meetings will take place at the following times and locations:

Tuesday, April 5: Hard Rock

Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St.

Wednesday April 6: Bally’s Tribune

Tribune Publishing Plant, 700 W. Chicago Ave.

Thursday, April 7: Rivers 78

Isadore and Sadie Dorin Forum, University of Illinois at Chicago, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd.

After the meetings, the city will continue discussions with the shortlisted teams and a winner will be selected.


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