$200M Newspaper Printing Plant Deal Moves Chicago Casino Project Forward


Bally’s Corp. has closed on a $200-million deal to purchase a 30-acre former Chicago Tribune newspaper printing plant as the site of Chicago’s first-ever casino. 

Under the terms of the deal announced on Nov. 21, Chicago-based real estate private equity firm will purchase the Tribune Publishing Center site at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street in the River West neighborhood. Then, in order to raise funds for the $1.7-billion casino project, Bally’s will lease back the land in a ground lease with the investor whose name was not released. 

Bally’s has named the project’s general contractor, which includes a management team of minority-led firms called the Chicago Community Builders Collective. Members include Brown & Momen, Inc., d’Escolo, Inc., Gilbane, LiveWire Construction, Milhouse, Powers & Sons, Riteway-Huggins Construction, Inc., SQN Associates, and Ujamaa Construction. The project has a goal of 46% minority participation for design and construction, according to a presentation made to the city in December 2021. 

“This transaction is an important step in our development plan for Bally’s Chicago as we continue to work toward opening the temporary casino in mid-2023,” said Bobby Lavan, chief financial officer of Bally’s in a news release. “With this new real estate partnership, Bally’s has ample liquidity on hand to fund Bally’s Chicago without needing to access the capital markets.” 

The project, located along the Chicago River, is envisioned to be casino, entertainment and hotel destination. The project will have 3,400 slots, 170 table games, 10 food and beverage venues, a 500-room hotel tower with rooftop bar, a 3,000 seat , 65,000-sq-ft entertainment center, a 20,000-sq-ft  exhibition space, outdoor music venue and green space including a public riverwalk with a water taxi stop.