The West Side is in the running to land a much-anticipated Chicago casino made possible by a gaming bill that Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed last month.
In a statement released July 17, Mayor Lori Lightfoot explained that one of the five sites that the city has submitted as possible locations for a prospective casino is at the corner of Roosevelt and Kostner in North Lawndale. The rest are on the South Side.
Lightfoot said the Wednesday announcement was among the first steps toward the development of a new casino in the city. Another early step is to hire an independent consultant to perform an economic feasibility study.
“This study is required under the recently enacted legislation prior to developing, commissioning and operating a new casino for Chicago,” the mayor’s statement said.
“The study will analyze the economic viability of a Chicago casino within the legislative framework established by the new legislation,” the statement continued. “The third-party expert, with experience in regulations, operations, and gaming industry economics, will evaluate all relevant factors and report to the Illinois Gaming Board, the Illinois General Assembly and the City of Chicago.”
The other four sites under consideration include the old Michael Reese Hospital at 31st Street and Cottage Grove; the old U.S. Steel site at 80th Street and Lake Shore Drive, which is now South Works; Harborside at 111th Street and the Bishop Ford Freeway; and at Pershing Road and State Street in Bronzeville.
All five of the sites under consideration have “been previously considered for a prospective casino or other major development in the past,” according to the mayor’s statement.
The 23-acre site at Roosevelt and Kostner was at the center of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s bid three years ago to land the Obama Presidential Library, which is slated to be built in Jackson Park on the South Side.
In 2015, when bids for the Obama library were still being considered, the late 1st District Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele, whose district encompassed the site, argued that the library would bring significant economic developments to the West Side.
“Several hundred million dollars of investment in infrastructure, business expansion and housing development will impact these communities,” Steele said at the time. “Not only will it impact the community of North Lawndale, but other communities that will be impacted are communities like Pilsen, Little Village.”
In her statement, Lightfoot’s office said that the city “will facilitate an open and thorough community engagement process to solicit meaningful feedback on prepared areas throughout the city,” starting with an online survey that will be followed by a series of town hall meetings.
“While a Chicago casino had been talked about for more than 30 years, today we are moving forward to ensure the new casino is viable for Chicago and all of its communities,” Lightfoot stated.