For Bally’s casino site in Chicago, everything continues to flow as smoothly as the adjacent Chicago River. While there is still much to do before Bally’s can officially welcome guests to what will be the largest casino in Illinois, each step in that process is as crucial as the next.
Earlier this week, a key component of Chicago’s local government signed off on Bally’s plans for the casino site. In response, Bally’s announced a target date for construction to begin and made its vision for the casino public.
Chicago government clears way for casino construction
With the approval from the Chicago Department of Planning and Urban Development, one of the final pieces to the construction approval process is now a matter of public record. According to a Thursday news release from Bally’s, the company’s “plans to begin construction on the mixed-use entertainment space in late 2024” are further solidified.
The site plans don’t deviate from what Bally’s has detailed since it won the bidding to build a casino in Chicago almost a year ago. In addition to more than 10 acres of outdoor green space, the entertainment options for residents and visitors will be diverse. They include:
- Event space
- Exhibition hall
The plans also include a 500-room hotel along with 10 restaurants and a food hall. For those who do wish to gamble, the casino will feature up to 4,000 gaming positions and a physical sportsbook. The site of the casino is the current Freedom Center. Bally’s just took over the lease of that building earlier this week.
For Chicago residents, all the casino talk is currently conceptual. Bally’s tried to make it somewhat tangible on Thursday, though.
Bally’s shows off its vision for Chicago
Along with announcing the latest update on its site plan, Bally’s made renderings of the casino site available to the public on Thursday. The renderings include both interior and exterior depictions of the casino.
According to Lee Bey of the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Department of Planning and Urban Development Commissioner Maurice Cox said Bally’s intention is to “really create a Chicago moment” and Cox said discussions with Bally’s have led to the creation of “a better product.”
Bey, who serves as the Chicago Sun-Times‘ architecture critic, says while the latest design “does succeed in helping the complex look less like a brightly-lit roadside attraction,” it “still can’t get past the fact a giant casino and entertainment complex at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street is a bad fit.”
Bey acknowledges that the design is a necessity given the site’s function, though. If that site functions well enough, Chicagoans might overlook the weaker aspects of the design. Either way, construction on the site should begin late 2024.