Bally's lays out new plans for hotel on top of River North casino

Maher Kawash Image
Saturday, February 10, 2024
Bally's lays out new plans for hotel on top of River North casino
Bally's showed new plans for a hotel to be built on top of their Chicago casino in River North.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The vision for that Bally's casino got a little more clear this week.

Approved infrastructure changes show a plan for a 100-room hotel to be built right above the casino at Halsted and Chicago avenue.

Some neighborhood organizations said there are positives to the plan, but they still have some questions.

The previous plan was to place the hotel on the north end of the property, near the Chicago river. This comes after planners determined the old design would have damaged water pipes at that location.

"The infrastructure issue at the original location could not be resolved despite efforts to mitigate the hotel's potential impact through on site adjustments," a statement from the Chicago Department of Planning and Development read in part. "The revision does not change the overall scope or timelines for the casino complex."

As of now, construction is supposed to be completed by 2026.

In the meantime, the River North Residents Association said it would like to be a bit more involved when it comes to the changes approved this week.

"The notification around the original change could have been more transparent," RNRA President Eileen Murray said. "RNRA found out about it by reading a news article."

The fact that the density may be somewhat reduced on the north end may be a positive. The organization said it's hopeful that dialogue will continue for residents across the area as this casino plan comes to fruition.

However, Murray said they still have other concerns about the property.

"Our concerns all along have been primarily around infrastructure and the strain on the infrastructure in that general area... certainly around impacts on transportation and traffic... on the natural environment," Murray said.

As residents continue to wait for the construction, people are taking their money to the temporary Bally's location in the Medinah Temple on Wabash Avenue.

One man named Ronald, leaving there Friday, said he loves what the casino brings to Chicago.

"It brings here jobs and money," Ronald said. "For years people have been catching the bus in Chinatown and going to Indiana, or going to Elgin or some other city, but this is creating jobs."

There's still some additional changes that have to be made when deciding where a larger hotel with 400 rooms will be placed on the property.