THREATENED: McPier Vetoes Casino Adaptive Reuse of Lakeside Center (Chicago 7 2016 & 2021)

“And then there were three.

“Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has narrowed down the city’s five proposals for its first casino to three finalists: Bally’s at the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center, Rivers at The 78 and Hard Rock at the proposed One Central megadevelopment, the city announced Tuesday.

“The three remaining bids advanced by the city may represent the path of least resistance for a Chicago casino. But none has landed without some objections or concerns, which the city may have to confront before it whittles the group down to a single favored plan, which officials said will be by early summer. It would still need to win state approval.

“The city passed on the two proposals involving the McCormick Place campus after the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which owns the convention center complex, said it was not interested in transforming any of its facilities into a casino.

“The rejected proposals for what is expected to be Illinois’ largest gambling establishment include a $1.3 billion Rivers Chicago McCormick bid to redevelop Lakeside Center, which developers touted as an opportunity to repurpose and renovate the 50-year-old steel-and-glass exhibition hall. McCormick Place said it has 235 events scheduled there that could not be rescheduled without a replacement.” (Channick and Pratt, Chicago Tribune, 3/22/22)

“Which leads to the third finalist. That’s Rivers 78 in the South Loop. I suspect it’s the front-runner. But full disclosure: I thought Rivers McCormick Place was the front-runner, too, until convention officials declared they couldn’t possibly do without the crumbling Lakeside East building Rivers wanted. So officials get to keep the money trap. I wish them luck finding the $400 million-plus needed to repair it without raising taxes, a political nonstarter anymore.” (Hinz, Crain’s Chicago Business, 3/28/22)

Read the full story at Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business

Chicago casino bidders down to three finalists: River West, South Loop and next to Soldier Field, Robert Channick and Gregory Pratt, Chicago Tribune, 3/22/22

Playing oddsmaker on the Chicago casino sweepstakes; With the field now narrowed to three bids from five, the competition is intensifying—and at least one factor has shifted in one participant’s favor, Greg Hinz, Crain’s Chicago Business, 3/28/22

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