Bally’s Chicago casino and hotel will have a less glitz and glamorous look according to updated photo renderings released recently.
After much consideration, the future Illinois casino will look a bit different than originally expected. Department of Planning commissioner Maurice Cox told the Chicago Sun-Times that biweekly meetings have been happening for months to redesign the casino and hotel’s exterior.
Cox said casino officials, stakeholders and others had a hand in creating Bally’s “evolved” look.
“Our intention was to really create a Chicago moment,” Cox said. “A feeling that would be iconic.”
Bally’s Chicago’s updated renderings
The location of Bally’s campus won’t change, as it will still be built on the land currently occupied by the Chicago Tribune printing press in River North.
Each venue’s positioning will also stay the same as in plans approved by city officials last year. On the north side of campus, there will be a 505,000 square foot hotel tower that’s curved with a glass exterior.
A 3,000-seat theater will sit on the campus’ south side. In between the two anchoring buildings will be the casino area, restaurants and retail shopping.
The most noticeable difference is the more subtle design of each building. Of course, that’s only relative to the previous renderings. There’s nothing subtle about the largest casino in Illinois being built in Chicago.
Cox expressed the desire to create a campus that doesn’t just attract casino goers. To do so, Bally’s will give the outside a less glassy and flashy look.
“Our thought is we have to bring Chicagoans to this site, whether they gamble or not,” Cox said.
Another difference in the new renderings is the light-colored facade on the side of the building that faces the Chicago River. Cox said this is “meant to recall the industrial language” of the Chicago Tribune’s printing press site.
No delays expected to Bally’s grand opening
As of now, there is no indication that Bally’s Chicago casino and hotel will have any delay in opening due to the redesign. Though, it’s always possible that, for example, a supply chain issue could occur that would push back Bally’s timeline.
In fact, earlier this month Bally’s timeline got slightly less foggy when the Rhode Island-based gaming operator opted to send the Chicago Tribune cash payments to get the newspaper out of the printing press building sooner.
The Tribune had the right to remain in the Freedom Center for an additional 10 years, but forfeited that right by taking Bally’s payments. Instead, the Chicago Tribune agreed to exit the building by July 2024.
Soon after, Bally’s plans to demolish the site and break ground on construction. Casino and city officials are hopeful the Windy City gaming venue will begin welcoming guests by 2026.
In the meantime, Bally’s temporary casino will open at the Medinah Temple in River West sometime this year. Though, no firm timetable is in place for a grand opening.