First Set Of Casino Community Meetings Conclude With Pushback

Update rendering of Bally's Tribune Center bid via Bally's presentation

The City of Chicago has completed the first round of community presentations for the final three casino bids. Earlier this year in March news broke of the mayor selecting the three sites with the first community meetings beginning early in April, this ruled out the Bally’s and Rivers McCormick Place bids, leaving us with Bally’s Tribune, Hard Rock’s One Central, and Rivers The 78 as the remaining choices. While the meetings were to educate the public and answer any questions, they riled up some controversies among local community groups. Recordings of the presentations can be found here.

Updated rendering of Hard Rock One Central bid via Hard Rock Chicago

Hard Rock One Central Bid

The meeting which took place April 6th revealed a handful of new details on the $1.7 billion proposal which is hoping to kick start the mega-development and utilize the McCormick Place Lakeside Center as its temporary location. With a recently launched website, the presenters stated the project would take around 30 months to build while creating over 6,800 and up to 19,000 jobs from construction to operations. It is worth noting that the project has yet to strike a deal with the use of the Lakeside Center, which has been mentioned by its operators to not be a viable option.

Rendering of outdoor pool area of Hard Rock One Central bid via Hard Rock Chicago

Other information disclosed was that funding wouldn’t be an issue for the roughly 35-story tower and casino, stating that the bid has a strong backing from Hard Rock who has done multiple casinos in the past. It was also emphasized that although it will utilize One Central’s land, it wouldn’t be a part of the development, but because of it One Central would be scaled back by roughly 20 percent. The bid received criticism from the neighbors including from the operator of McCormick Place who expressed that some major conferences will not want to host their events near a casino.

Update rendering of Bally’s Tribune Center bid via Bally’s presentation

Bally’s Tribune Center Bid

Being the bid that has received the largest redesign since its launch, the meeting which took place April 7th within the building that would be their temporary facility revealed further details on the new concept. With an anticipated three-year construction timeline, the proposal would be a part of planned development 1426 which was approved in 2018 for roughly 8.5 million square feet of space. The updated one million-square-foot casino complex will decrease the plan’s overall size to 6.5 million which was used to argue against many of the traffic concerns. Although most in attendance oppose the proposal, the local alderman says there are large groups who didn’t attend support it.

Update rendering of Bally’s Tribune Center bid with expected planned development build-out via Bally’s presentation

The updated design is being executed by SCB and will pursue LEED certification, the completed $1.7 billion project would deliver a 37-story hotel tower, roughly 3,000 parking spaces in an underground garage, 2,100 feet of riverwalk and parks, as well as a 70,000-square-foot entertainment venue and 20,000-square-foot exhibition space. Also being considered are a new pedestrian bridge over the river, various green spaces, and a rough redesign of the development layout. Along with the push back there was also some controversy with members of neighborhood committees privately meeting with the developers prior to the presentations.

Rendering of riverwalk component of The 78 casino via Related Midwest

Rivers The 78 Bid

As one of the most anticipated bids, the meeting took place on April 7th and received plenty of negative feedback from area residents who also expressed disdain towards the greater 78 project. The local alderman reported roughly 80 percent of residents surveyed about the proposal opposed it, this was followed up by protesters outside of the presentation and multiple people yelling to the point of having the microphone shut-off. The meeting did bring out a few new details including the confirmation of the riverboat temporary facility and the construction of the future CTA Red Line 15th Street stop.

Rendering of Rivers The 78 proposal by Rivers Casino

Other details included highlighting the creation of 4,000 construction jobs, 3,500 permanent jobs, and roughly 5,000 students that will utilize the nearby Discovery Partners Institute that just received their land transfer. It is also worth noting that The 78 Community Advisory Council held a press conference this past week stating they are against the proposal, with some worrying that if the casino bid isn’t won the $7 billion mega-development could be in jeopardy.

The 78 (blue)

The 78 (blue). Model by Jack Crawford

The city will now proceed to analyze the feedback from the various presentations and determine if they are ready to make a choice. While there is no clear winner, it is predicted each proposal will deliver a different level of tax revenue, after six years Hard Rock is predicted to bring in $185 million, Bally’s $195 million, and Rivers $174 million. At the moment there is no formal timeline on when a decision could be made, however you can read the journey of the casino selection here.

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22 Comments on "First Set Of Casino Community Meetings Conclude With Pushback"

  1. Unfortunate… the city does not need a casino.

    • It sounds like you are on the wrong website my friend. This is chicagoYIMBY. Any one of these casinos will bring in a tremendous amount of much needed tax revenue and tourism draw for this city and who are we to oppose it? I can’t believe people on this website oppose private developers putting huge vacant lots to use.

    • Well, you pay for those outrageous police and fire pensions and STFU!

  2. Making Chicago an attractive place to start a business and raise a family should be priority number one, not a casino. Fix CPS and destroy CTU, prop up the police, overhaul and reform the public housing graft, reform our tax structure so we are not extorted by entrenched criminal public sector unions, make Chicago a destination for manufacturing again. There a million things we should be focusing on that are far more important than a casino that frankly nobody will give a shat about. The Commercial Club of Chicago had a 2020 vision released in 2000 that had a multitude of great ideas among them including dedicated Freightways on old belt rail lines to get the trucks off our highways, property tax reform, etc. I don’t think a single item was ever address and here we are 22 years later with worse problems and salivating over a casino.

  3. Agree with comments that the city doesn’t need a casino. Also, totally disagree with the comment from McCormick that exhibitors wouldn’t want a casino nearby, because they likely would love it. Vegas is stealing away convention business so if any proposal made sense, it’s the one from Hard Rock. I say this as a long time exhibitor at 2 of the city’s largest conventions (IMTS and Fab Tech).

    • Steve River North | April 12, 2022 at 10:16 am | Reply

      2 problems with that location, conventions are going to be on the decline as COVID has shown that a lot can be done virtually and business travel is “bad/expensive” now. Second, once the Bears move (they will) to Arlington Heights that area of the city will have less draw. That would leave a casino in a dead corner that is hard to get to. Casinos need to be easy to get to for people with money to spend, Ballys is close to River North and West Loop, it has the largest projected earnings number and is in a ward where the Alderperson does not object to it.

  4. What is with these comments… very NIMBY!! The amount of tax revenue that this would bring would help make significant changes to various departments within the city. Also, it’s not like they are going to build all three casinos and we become the Las Vegas of the Midwest…

    Ballys – Hate the flat, boring, grey wall that faces the river, it should be inviting and an eye-popper.
    Hard Rock – Would this really create ~15,000 more construction jobs than the other projects? The design is fantastic and I completely agree with Chip regarding the McCormick argument. The casino would NOT interfere with conventions, and might even add attract convention-goers/south loop residents that are looking for a bit of nightlife.
    78 – Still easily the best architectural design. But I would argue that the students would be much less likely to utilize the casino compared to McCormick conventions.

  5. The NIMBY comments here are insane, in what world does the city not “need” nearly $200 million in tax extra revenue in just 6 years?

  6. “The NIMBY comments here are insane, in what world does the city not “need” nearly $200 million in tax extra revenue in just 6 years?”

    LOL do honestly believe that? See giving the these leftists $200 million more dollars ( which is prob pie in the sky to begin with ) they will increase spending by $400 million and hire a few hundred more union parasites that we will pay 2 pensions to for the next 50 years. Chicago is in crisis and should be acting like it, not pretending to be business as usual. The covid response disaster will be dragging down Chicago for a generation or more while sensible, sane and rational cities and states accelerate into the future. So no, casinos are the last bastion of failed riverside rust belt towns, we need something more concrete and permanent to start fixing the mess.

    • Omg, YIMBY chat room has finally been invaded by the enraged, overly-political (and they always tend to lean in the same direction) participant… *sigh*

  7. I have no desire to live in a place with short, dull buildings, that’s why I live in Chicago. All the other “needs”mentioned in other comments have been needs for a hundred years. We will move forward with the casino, hopefully the proposal for the 78 site. It’s barren land that needs to start generating an appropriate level of tax revenue in addition to income from the casino to pay down pensions.

    The comments here remind me of all those who frequently advocate for low income housing, but just not in their neighborhood. Chicagoans like to complain about the city’s finances, but will stifle any reasonable opportunity to help balance the spreadsheet.

    Build it on the 78, and make it tall, bold and exciting. Build it.

  8. Not opposed to casino, but good lord, anywhere that is highly residential is a terrible idea. Chicago and Galatea’s as one of the locations?? Are they nuts? The traffic there is insane. Put it out by McCormick and drive out of town revenue. Let’s bring tourists to the city.

  9. Yes build it tall and bold, it was a casino that put Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook on the map!

  10. These are similar comments made by the small-minded NIMBY folks about marijuana a few years ago. Lots of the suburbs were like “not in my backyard”. Now, a couple years later, after seeing all the money being generated, they’re stumbling over themselves to get a dispensary.

    • The same people I’m sure who opposed redevelopment of Navy Pier, the development of Millennium Park and the Riverwalk. If they had their druthers, Chicago would be just another dull, flat middlewestern town where the highlight is the annual PTA Bake-off.

  11. The Loop is at best 30% occupancy based on cellular data and key fob swipes. But ya, casino. Morons. I’m sure people from the rest of the country are going to want to flock to a city where they have no idea if they are going to have to wear a face diaper or show their papers to enter said casino on whichever day the ruling party decides to mandate whatever BS they come up with. NY, CHI, LA, SF have turned toxic to the majority of the country and at least half the people that live there, but a casino, that’ll fix it. At least the impoverished Illinoisans can recycle their welfare / SS checks back to the state and some dude who lives out of state can collect mad profits from the magical casino. As far calling us midwestern rubes who’d oppose Millennium Park – go look into the bloated pay for play insider deals that essentially brought down Daley and left Chicago tens of billions in the hole. The Park is great, and we will paying for it for the next 100 years. But hey, we got a crappy gehry that already looks hideously out of date. Real Chicagoans get it – it’s another grift. The transplants will never get it until they are underwater on their home and looking their tax bills tripling over ten years.

  12. Gaper, go air out your political laundry somewhere else. Your comments here are equally
    irrelevant and irritating (the latter possibly your intention).

  13. In other news….the sun rises in the east and things fall toward the earth!

  14. Just because the URL has YIMBY in it doesn’t mean comments have to be 100% supportive.

    Casinos are not glitzy or glamorous. They’re tacky and gaudy. At best, they’re just sad, full of lifeless slack-jawed people propped up in front of a slot machine with a plastic cup of quarters for hours on end, maybe leaving their seat to gorge themselves on crab legs at the buffet or watch the Wayne Newton impersonator headlining there.

    I can see why there’s been push back, especially against the proposals near residential areas. I mean, there’s a reason no one lives on The Strip in Vegas. Because it would suck. Seriously, would living next door to
    The Excalibur really be that great? The idea that a casino would somehow elevate the status of Chicago is absurd.

    Is the revenue worth it? Well, will the corruption inherent in Chicago politics allow the citizens to benefit at all? Or will the casino just be another way to funnel money upward?

    And speaking of corruption, how many bribes did alderman Reilly take to spout some vague statement about how he knows some “large groups” who support the Bally’s casino. Yeah, large groups… that’s the ticket.

    I’m sure there are better, more community-minded ways to utilize these areas.

    • I guess the giant luxury condos buildings on the strip are empty? The strip has more than 10,000 residents. nothing is different about living near a casino than a theater, convention center, etc.

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