The Chicago casino project has reached its own version of March Madness semifinals. Instead of choosing one proposal and moving ahead as expected, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Tuesday, March 22, that she had narrowed down the five proposals that were submitted in October to a shortlist of three, two in the South Loop and one in River West.
Facing off in the semis, reports the Tribune, will be developer Rivers Casinos and Rush Street Gaming’s proposal for a $1.6 billion casino at the 78, a multi-use development going up at Clark Street and Roosevelt Road; Hard Rock’s $1.74 billion proposal for One Central, a new development northwest of Soldier Field; and Bally’s plan to demolish the Tribune’s Freedom Center printing plant at Chicago and Halsted and build a $1.74 billion complex on the same spot. All three proposals include restaurants, hotels, theaters, concert venues, and location-specific amenities, such as boat docks. The semifinalists plan to open temporary casinos in 2023 or 2024 and be permanently established by late 2025 or early 2026.
The two McCormick Place proposals are out. The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which owns the complex, is not interested in repurposing any of the buildings into a casino, the Tribune reports, and anyway, the Lakeside Center exhibition hall that was the key to one of the proposals, from Rivers Chicago, is already fully booked. The city did not indicate that this was the reason the bid was rejected, but according to Crain’s, a report that accompanied the mayor’s announcement indicated that the loss of even one convention would be bad for city and state revenues. The proposed Bally’s site in the Truck Marshaling Yards has already been committed to another developer through 2023, and Bronzeville residents were also concerned that a casino would increase crime in the neighborhood.
Brewery fundraiser nets $22K
A fundraiser held on Monday, March 21, at Eris Brewery and Cider House raised $22,000 for workers at Twisted Hippo brewpub, according to Eris co-owner Michelle Foik. Twisted Hippo burned down on President’s Day, and more than 40 breweries from across the state donated beer for Monday’s event to raise money for workers without jobs. the fire started from a building next door and spread, and no injuries were reported.
Renaissance Bronzeville plans to reopen post-shooting
The Renaissance Bronzeville nightclub and lounge, which has been closed since a shooting in November, may reopen soon, provided its owners agree to a safety plan developed with the city, Block Club Chicago reports. The club at 4641 S. King Drive had been the subject of complaints from Bronzeville residents, including for loitering and littering, but Chicago police officers assured attendees at a community meeting on Monday, March 21, that they would work to enforce the safety plan. Block Club could not reach owners Shun Dyes and John McClendon for comment.
Lollapallooza announces 2022 music lineup, but food TBD
Lollapalooza announced its 2022 lineup earlier this week, which includes 170 performers on eight stages, a mix of newer acts like Doja Cat and Kygo and older ones like Metallica and Green Day, presumably to entertain parents who will be accompanying their children. Food will be provided by 35 chefs and restaurants, as yet unnamed, but organizers promised there will be vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.
A breastaurant develops a deal to expand in Chicago
Breastaurant and sports bar Twin Peaks is planning a double-D sized move into the Chicago area in the next decade. The chain has made an agreement with franchisees Rodolfo Garcia and Federico Muñoz, who will open one new location every year for seven years starting in 2023, WhatNow Chicago reports.
Without proof, police officer claims Wendy’s served her hair and dirt
An off-duty police officer claims that she was served an unusual late-night meal at the Wendy’s at 1623 W. Division Street very early on the morning of Monday, March 21, that included hair and dirt. The officer complained to an employee, who dismissed her concerns, according to the Sun-Times. The police department provided no proof of the incident, but a Wendy’s spokesperson told the Sun-Times the chain was taking the claims very seriously and that it has utmost respect for law enforcement. This brings to mind the claims by New York City police officers that they were fed bleach milkshakes at a Manhattan Shake Shack, claims that were eventually debunked by the NYPD.