Tuesday, November 9, 2021

4 out of the 5 Casino Location Proposals In or Close to the Sloop

Last week we posted about 5 casino sites that were proposed for the city and numerous ones in the Sloop. Well it ends up that 4 of the 5 are in the neighborhood!  We're not huge bettors, but those seem like pretty good odds that there is going to be a casino in the neighborhood.  The question now is where?

The four locations in (or very close) to the Sloop are:

  • Bally’s Chicago — McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard
  • Hard Rock at the One Central Development (west of Solder Field)
  • Rivers Chicago at McCormick
  • Rivers 78 Gaming
Each of these proposals have many pros/cons.  First off, the Bally's proposal is south of what we would consider the Sloop, but it's still pretty close.  Out of these 4 proposals, we would imagine our neighborhood would be most supportive of this one since it's just outside our boundaries.  According to the Tribune, the alderman representing this ward has been pretty adamant that she doesn't support this location - so we will see if that's a deal breaker.

While One Central is the development that won't go away and a casino at this location probably gives it a shot in the arm...we still think it's a long shot (and years away from ever potentially happening).  

Rivers Chicago at McCormick
So that leaves us with the Rivers proposals.  In our opinion, the Rivers Chicago at McCormick is very interesting on many fronts.  The Tribune explains it as:
The proposal to redevelop Lakeside Center — formerly the East Building — at McCormick Place would have a number of built-in advantages, according to Scott Goodman, founding principal of Chicago-based Farpoint Development.

“We think this is a perfect adjunct to what’s already there,” Goodman said. “Things are already in place, not least of which is the structure, but also other infrastructure, such as parking and access, and ways for people to get there.”

The seldom-used, 50-year-old Lakeside Center has 583,000 square feet of exhibit space, but is dwarfed by the newer McCormick Place West Building, which opened in 2007. It is adjacent to an abundance of hotel rooms, has lakefront vistas, is designed for high-traffic events and in a post-COVID-19 world, could help draw conventions and conventioneers to roll the dice on Chicago, Goodman said.

The plan would create casino floor up to 300,000 square feet, with the rest of the exhibit floor filled with food and beverage options, as well as entertainment spaces, Goodman said. The redevelopment would also address maintenance issues and capital improvement needs that have been “compiling” at the building, he said.

The adaptive reuse of an existing convention hall may have one significant advantage over competing proposals with new buildings — an expedited timeline.

It's a pretty iconic location right on the lake, it's a re-use of an underutilized building and it's connected to McCormick Place (which some say is a problem).  Those are pretty big assets from our vantage point.

Rivers 78
The 78 certainly has the space and nice river location for a casino, but in our opinion this spot would be a tough pill to swallow for the Sloop.  This is in the heart of the Sloop and would change they dynamics of the neighborhood in a major way.  Sure the 78 was going to do that regardless, but add a casino and we just don't know...seems like a bad move.

Details are pretty limited on this proposal, but the developer Related Midwest did say:
Related Midwest President Curt Bailey offered few details but plenty of enthusiasm about the plan, saying it “would work extremely well and probably produce the highest-income casino in the city of Chicago because of the location.”

Of course that's what he was going to stay, but might have some truth.  It is a good location.

This will be interesting to monitor.  Certainly the site at the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center is a good location, but in our opinion not as good as some of the Sloop spots.  


No comments: