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Plumbing Issues Force Bally’s Chicago To Shift Casino Hotel Plans

Change Becomes Latest Issue At Troubled Casino Project

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Artists Rendering Of Future CasinoThe hiccups involving the Bally’s casino in Chicago continued over the last week. The project has already made news for missed financial projections from its temporary site and seeing the entire bidding process face investigations from the city and federal officials.

Bally’s has also now announced that the planned 400-room hotel tower for the resort will have to be moved to avoid damaging critical water lines located under the site where the new property is planned.

Making Changes

Construction on the $1.7 billion project is set to begin this year at Freedom Center in the River West area. Plans called for the casino’s hotel tower to be located on the north end of the site.

The development would also include restaurants, retail outlets, casino gaming, and a 3,000-seat theater on the south end as well as 10 acres of public open space and a one-acre riverside park.

The water pipe infrastructure challenges have now forced the company to revise the plan. The resort will now see a 100-room hotel as part of a four-story complex that also houses the casino itself. A 400-room tower would then be built over that location within five years, Bally’s officials noted. The change isn’t expected to affect the construction timetable.

“Due to unforeseen infrastructure issues, an alternate plan has been submitted to the city to move the hotel tower on the site and to stay on schedule for 2026,” a Bally’s spokesman told the Chicago Tribune. “The altered plan incorporates more greenspace as requested by the community and delivers the initial hotel rooms and completed hotel tower on the project site, as promised.”

Another Hurdle

City officials have longed to bring a casino within city limits for several years. A temporary casino at the Medinah Temple in the River North area opened in September, but that property hasn’t met the city’s financial expectations.

For 2023, the casino produced only $3.1 million in tax revenue, almost $10 million short of the city’s original $12.8 million estimates.

In December, news also came to light that the bidding for the project also is facing multiple investigations. Critics have alleged that there were issues about transparency, casino financing irregularities, and conflicts of interest among some involved representing the city.