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Bally’s Finalizes the $200-Million Purchase of Freedom Center Land That Will Host Long-Expected Chicago Casino

Bally’s confirmed that it managed to finalize its $200-million acquisition of the Freedom Center printing plant a few days ago. The competition of the deal has paved the gambling company’s way to build the much-expected and debated Chicago mega-casino.

The gambling operator, based in Rhode Island, purchased the 30-acre River West site from Nexstar Media Group. At the time it announced the agreement, Bally’s also revealed that it plans to transform the place into a massive casino complex worth $1.74 billion. In May, the gambling operator won a heated competition to build the mega-casino in Chicago, which is expected to generate annual tax revenue of about $200 million for the city. Now it remains to be seen what the fate of the land, which once hosted the Chicago Tribune’s printing plant, would be.

The Freedom Center site was acquitted by the biggest TV station owner in the US – Nexstar Media Group – in 2019 as part of its $4.1-billion takeover of Tribune Media.

Soo Kim, chair of Bally’s, officially confirmed that the deal was closed on November 18th. So far, there has been no commentary from the spokesperson of Nexstar Media Group.

The Freedom Center, where the newspapers of the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc., opened back in 1981. The plant was scheduled for demolition as part of the development, but Mr. Kim has not fully rejected the possibility of keeping it on the site alongside the casino operations that are expected to be established there.

Bally’s Plans to Open Temporary Casino at Medinah Temple by June 2023

According to reports, the proposed casino complex that is expected to be built at the site of the Chicago Tribune’s printing plant would include a casino featuring 170 table games and 3,400 slot machines. The complex will also feature a 500-room hotel, an exhibition hall, a 3,000-seat theater, six restaurants, as well as an outdoor music venue.

Back in August 2023, Bally’s approached the Illinois Gaming Board with its license application for a Chicago casino. The gambling giant had previously unveiled plans to open a temporary casino facility at Medinah Temple by June 2023, while the permanent casino establishment is expected to open sometime in 2026.

Earlier, Tribune Publishing had exercised an opportunity to extend its lease for the printing plant at Freedom Center, which is expected to expire in June next year, for another 10-year period. Nexstar Media Group and Tribune Publishing were in arbitration over the conditions of the lease contract’s extension. Now, Bally’s, in its quality as the new landlord of the site, will have to resolve the lease dispute.

Although the gambling operator’s Chair has not ruled out the chance to keep the printing plant on site, Bally’s has, in fact, the right to force the Chicago Tribune to vacate the place. On the other hand, earlier in November, the gambling company revealed some plans to sell the land and lease it back in a move to raise money for the establishment of the proposed casino complex.

For the time being, Bally’s owns and manages a total of 15 casino venues across 10 US states.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.