Bally’s, which in October purchased the Freedom Center printing plant site to establish its Chicago casino, is set to finalize the deal with owner Nexstar Media Group by the end of November. The agreement is estimated at $200 million.
At the time when it announced its third-quarter results, the gambling operator revealed that it plans to sell the 30-acre site in River West after finalizing the purchase and then lease it back to raise funds for the planned casino complex worth $1.74 billion. The Chief Financial Officer of Bally’s, Robert Lavan, shared that the company remains focused on a land sale-leaseback deal in Chicago as a major part of its capital structure.
The Freedom Center site was acquired by the largest TV station owner in the US, Nexstar Media Group, as part of the company’s $4.1-billion takeover of Tribune Media in 2019. In the previous year, Tribune Media received approval for a planned multipurpose development at the site.
The CFO of Nexstar Media Group, Lee Ann Gliha, did not make a reference to Freedom Center by name but she said that the sale was expected to positively affect the company’s results in the fourth quarter, bringing it net cash proceeds of approximately $155 million. Ms. Gliha shared that the translation is expected to be finalized by the end of November.
Temporary Casino Venue Expected to Start Operation in Chicago by June 2023
Earlier this week, the chair of Bally’s, Soo Kim, confirmed the sale price of $200 million and revealed that the transaction was expected to close by Thanksgiving Day.
Back in May, Bally’s emerged victorious from a heated competition to establish the long-awaited Chicago casino which, according to market experts, is expected to generate an annual tax revenue of $200 million for the city. As part of the process, the industrial site will be transformed into an entertainment hub, with the former printing plant of the Chicago Tribune along the Chicago River forced to be vacated. In August, Bally’s filed its license application for the Chicago casino with the Illinois Gaming Board and plans to establish and open a temporary casino facility at Medinah Temple by June next year. The permanent casino venue is expected to start operation in 2026 at the earliest.
As previously revealed, the proposed casino and entertainment complex would include a 500-room hotel, a casino featuring 170 game tables and 3,400 slot machines, an exhibition hall, an outdoor music venue, a 3,000-seat theater, as well as six restaurants, which will make it the biggest casino resort in the state.
In order to help the development of the Chicago casino resort project, in July, the US gambling operator entered into a sale-leaseback agreement with Gaming and Leisure Properties for its Rhode Island-based Bally’s Tiverton Casino and Hotel and its Biloxi-based Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. As a result, the company will receive net proceeds of about $635 million. The deal is set to be finalized in January 2023.