Bally’s has received approval from the city council to move forward with its new hotel design plans after recent problems. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Bally’s Corporation has received the green light from Chicago authorities for its new hotel design. The Rhode Island-based company is preparing to begin development of the city’s first casino and suffered a setback when changes had to be made to the original plans due to concerns about the underlying water pipes. The hope is that construction will begin in July; The first phase includes a permanent casino and a 100-room hotel.
The new plan did not require approval from the city council
Bally’s had originally planned to build an additional 400-room hotel on the property as part of the second phase before the plumbing problems came to light. The new plan did not require City Council approval — the facility will be built on the southern part of the site, rather than the northern end near the Chicago River.
Some concerns from locals
A spokesman for Bally’s welcomed city zoning manager Patrick Murphey’s decision to approve the plan Thursday. The spokesperson noted that the new design fully meets all requirements and maintains exactly the same floor area ratio as when the company first presented it. The design change has no impact on the construction start schedule.
The location of the new casino is the Chicago Tribune printing facility and the property is scheduled to open in 2026.
Not everyone is happy with the changes. The River North Residents Association has consistently fought the casino project from the beginning on traffic and public safety grounds. She believes the recent revisions require a transparent and complete review that includes community input.
Current results of the temporary casino
The temporary casino that Bally’s set up during development work at Medinah Temple has so far fallen short of expectations.
Third in the ranking of 16 casinos in Illinois
Last month it reported a profit of $9.3 million, placing it third in the ranking of 16 casinos in Illinois. That means $913,000 in tax revenue will go toward fire and police pensions. Mayor Brandon Johnson hoped the casino would generate $35 million in tax revenue in 2024.
It also had over 88,000 visits, putting it only behind Rivers Casino in the rankings. Bally’s hopes to improve results by offering more bus and shuttle routes, introducing valet parking and opening VIP areas.