Revised plans 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, developer Bally’s has begun the bidding and permit process with revised plans for the complex. The property is being designed by SCB, Gensler, Site Design Group, Urbanworks, STL Architects, and NIA Architects among others.
UPDATE: Since we published this article this morning, Bally’s has addressed the changes, see more below labeled in bold.
Bally’s was chosen after a multi-year selection process with the city, which saw competing bids from other major players like Hard Rock at One Central, Rivers at The 78, and Bally’s at McCormick Place. Bally’s winning bid presented the previous plans multiple times last year to the community and city, with slight revisions to the overall aesthetic mostly, and receiving approvals for the design.
These original plans called for a small park on the south end of the site leading to the riverwalk, this connected to the large casino building with a performance center, museum, conference rooms, and casino with 4,000 gaming positions. Crowning the project would be a 500-foot-tall tower and 500-key hotel tower on the north end of the site with a large drop-off space, along with 2,500 vehicle parking spaces.
Caisson Permit Application – 2023
Caisson permits for this design, including the five-story casino, event center, and 35-story tower with 500-hotel rooms, were applied for in October 2023.
Now the major changes to the plans come after Bally’s received approval for their permanent gaming license for the Tribune site last October, just before receiving approval to run the temporary location at the Medinah Temple 24/7. The casino building will remain relatively the same with a four-story events center still adjacent to the park on the southern end, with the hotel tower being removed.
While not fully confirmed, the renderings shown to potential bidders do not show the 500-foot-tall tower, which was used to win the bid as part of the requirements. Now plans show a new 100-key and three-story hotel structure being built over the northern end of the casino building, with the casino structure extending over the previously proposed connecting wintergarden.
UPDATE: Bally’s has revealed the tower will now be part of a second phase in a new location. This is due to the municipal water lines running below the footprint. At the moment the casino is exploring a new location to the south of the site or around the events center, with 400-rooms to compliment the 100 mentioned above. However no design has been finalized nor a timeline for this new second-phase, it is worth noting that prior to this phasing had not been mentioned.
Caisson Permit Application – 2024
Caisson permits for this design, with a revised four-story, 74-foot-tall casino, event center, and 100 hotel rooms, were applied for yesterday January 16th.
Though the size cannot be confirmed, a slightly smaller area will remain open to the north of the casino, which could be used to potentially build a tower in the future or separately. The updates also come after slight controversy with the casino running busses to pick up players and reporting numbers lower than expected for 2023, albeit opening later than originally announced. The new plans may also come with a revised cost different from the original $1.7 billion.
UPDATE: We now know this small portion of land to the north of the site will no longer contain the hotel tower.
In May of last year Bally’s reported they were ahead of schedule and on budget for the permanent casino with the land recently being secured as well, this would allow for a 2026 opening.