RIVER WEST — Chicago’s getting a casino — and with it will come a district full of restaurants, a park and other amenities, officials announced Thursday.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has picked Bally’s to build a $1.7 billion casino and resort at the Tribune Publishing site at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street in River West. She still needs City Council and the Illinois Gaming Board to sign off on the company.
The casino is expected to be a financial boon for the city, providing millions that officials say they need to fulfill pension obligations and prevent tax increases, among other things. But Bally’s will be more than just a gambling spot, Lightfoot and other officials pledged Thursday.
It’s important to the city that “it is a catalyst that serves as a focal point for this growing arts and culture and entertainment district,” planning Commissioner Maurice Cox said during the news conference.
That means the site will also feature restaurants, entertainment, a park and other amenities. It’ll have an “iconic outdoor space that animates the riverfront’s edge,” and there will be a 2-acre park along the river, Cox said.
Inside, gaming will be moved off the ground floor so people walking in get engaged with the facility’s other amenities, Cox said.
“Our hope is that this will be a place where Chicagoans will come. They will meet the world; the world will meet Chicago. Chicagoans will come back again and again and again. And even if you don’t enjoy gaming,” you’ll enjoy coming here, Cox said.
Bally’s will work with neighbors to redevelop the sprawling site, taking their feedback into consideration, Lightfoot said.
Here’s what’s planned:
- 170 table games.
- 3,400 slots.
- 3,000-seat theater.
- Immerse Agency exhibition experience.
- Riverwalk extension.
- Pedestrian bridge.
- 500-room hotel.
- 2-acre outdoor park.
- Outdoor music venue.
- Amenity terrace with a pool spa, fitness center and sun deck.
- Six restaurants, cafes and a food hall.
The project is expected to create 3,000 construction jobs per year and 3,000 permanent casino jobs, according to the Mayor’s Office.
See renderings of the Bally’s proposal here:
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