Updated renderings have been revealed for the upcoming Bally’s casino at 777 W Chicago Avenue in River West. Located on the corner with N Halsted Street and replacing the Chicago Tribune printing facility on the site, the casino has received a partial redesign which mainly changed the exterior but leaves the previously proposed interior the same. Rhode Island-based Bally’s is leading the charge for their new flagship property with multiple firms working on its design including SCB, Gensler, Site Design Group, Urbanworks, STL Architects, and NIA Architects among others.
The changes come after Bally’s came to an agreement with the Tribune to move out of the site by July 2024, with the Illinois Gaming Board still needing to sign off on both the temporary and permanent facilities. Recently Bally’s has begun hiring more than 700 positions for the temporary casino at the Medinah Temple in River North according to Block Club. With training ongoing for 125 dealers of the 300 needed for the temporary and over 1,000 for the permanent casinos, the company is confident their licenses will be approved in time.
With all this, Bally’s has introduced a new look for the structure which aims to be more subtle and take inspiration from the area’s industrial past. The hotel tower’s overall oval form remains the same but now introduces a white panel edge and horizontal strips to break up the previously proposed all-glass facade. The base of the tower and winter garden connection to the casino will be more square-off to add more space for the food and beverage vendors within, connecting to an updated undulating plaza connecting guests to the new riverwalk.
The adjacent structure will still hold the casino, dining, event center, museum, and conference spaces but has received a completely new exterior with vertical inset voids in-order to break up the overall massing. The casino portion of the building will have an updated waving facade made by vertical slats with different profiles and added greenery. It is worth noting the new look features less windows overall, with a singular horizontal band window piercing the exterior wall for the restaurants and shops within.
Furthest south the entertainment building with the aforementioned event center and museum has also received a new facade to contrast the casino structure. The large box will now have an angled massing with a diamond-shaped metal scale exterior broken up by a band of windows that connect back to the casino. This part of the building will hang over a redesigned riverfront park with a more gradual slope and added monumental staircases and gathering spaces for events.
The overall design changes received support from Commissioner Cox for the 37-acre site of which 10 will be dedicated to public outdoor space. With a cost of $1.7 billion and having received all of the necessary approvals from the city, Bally’s is prepared to move forward as soon as they receive their gaming license. As the company revealed the temporary facility is on track for a late summer 2023 opening, with the permanent site being ahead of schedule and on budget for a summer 2026 opening according to Crain’s.
A deeper dive on the program of the casino complex can be found here.