Bally’s Rethinks Chicago Casino Design As it Runs into Issues

Bally’s casino project in Chicago, valued at $1.7 billion and planned for the River West area’s Freedom Center, has encountered several obstacles recently. While construction is set to begin this year, unexpected infrastructure challenges have prompted a significant change in the project’s layout. Initially, the development plan included a 400-room hotel tower at the north end of the site, along with amenities such as restaurants, retail outlets, a 3,000-seat theater, and extensive public spaces.

What You Need to Know

  • Bally’s casino in Chicago is revising its original plan due to infrastructure challenges, replacing a 400-room hotel with a smaller 100-room hotel in a four-story complex.
  • The casino’s temporary location at Medinah Temple in River North has underperformed, generating only $3.1 million in tax revenue against a projected $12.8 million.
  • The bidding process for Bally’s casino project is under investigation by city and federal officials for potential issues with transparency and financing irregularities.

However, the discovery of critical water lines under the proposed site for the new property has led to a revision of the plans. Bally’s will now start with a 100-room hotel as part of a four-story complex that houses the casino. A Bally’s spokesman explained to the Chicago Tribune, “Due to unforeseen infrastructure issues, an alternate plan has been submitted to the city to move the hotel tower on the site and to stay on schedule for 2026.” The company aims to construct the originally planned 400-room tower over this location within five years, incorporating more greenspace as requested by the community. This modification is not expected to delay the project’s timeline.

The Bally’s casino project has also been in the news for not meeting financial projections at its temporary River North location, the Medinah Temple, which opened in September. The casino produced only $3.1 million in tax revenue in 2023, falling significantly short of the city’s $12.8 million estimate.

Moreover, the entire bidding process for the project has come under investigation by city and federal officials. Allegations include issues with transparency, casino financing irregularities, and potential conflicts of interest among city representatives.

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