The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) has rejected plans for casinos in Calumet City and Lynwood, leaving just two developers; Homewood and Matteson in the tender to build a casino in Chicago Southland.
The Illinois Gaming Board voted unanimously to kick out plans by Southland Live, who wanted to use a section of the River Oaks shopping center in Calumet City to develop a casino, and from the Ho-Chunk Nation, who wanted to build on land it owns in Lynwood.
Homewood and East Hazel Crest are teaming up with casino operator Wind Creek Hospitality with plans to develop a 64,000-square-foot casino on a 24-acre site. Costing $300, the first phase would include a casino, an entertainment center and 21-story hotel, with a rooftop balcony offering views of Chicago’s skyline.
Windcreek’s presentation introduced a respected, experienced and fiscally-stable operator with a commitment to diversity and inclusion – and a development that promises to be the best in and for the south suburbs.
“Wind Creek Hospitality will not just build a casino, but truly create a community in the south suburbs – with job creation, community investment and sustained operational excellence, and we were enthused to share that with the Illinois Gaming Board in our presentation today,” said Jay Dorris, president and CEO, PCI Gaming Authority. “We are confident that Wind Creek is the best partner in and for the south suburbs. Our proposed Four-Diamond facility will bring a first-class entertainment destination to the Southland region and maximize profits to generate the most revenue for the state.”
Wind Creek’s proposed development, located directly off of I-80 near Halsted Street and 175th Street, offers the best location out of any of the south suburban applicants – the site sees nearly four times the average daily traffic of any other applicant, nearly 80 million vehicles pass by the proposed site adjacent to I-80 each year. Its proximity to the Indiana border, less than a 10-minute drive away, has the potential to draw significant visitors from Northwest Indiana.
The location is in the heart of the Southland, where jobs and opportunities are most needed, with convenient public transportation to make sure those opportunities are available to all south suburban residents as the statute envisioned. More importantly, it is the best location for the south suburbs —garnering the most tax dollars for the state and the 41 communities in the five south suburban townships. These projections are verified by two independent market studies conducted by Wind Creek – one, in the summer of 2019 by The Innovation Group, and another in November 2020 by Global Market Advisors. Both reports affirm that the Wind Creek location will generate the most revenue for the south suburban region in comparison to its competitors for the casino license. In addition, an economic impact analysis conducted by Professor Anthony Andrews at Governors State University this past summer confirms that Wind Creek will provide the greatest economic impact to the Southland communities.
“Over the past six years, we’ve been lucky enough to meet and talk to so many leaders and residents of the south suburbs – and know how long they’ve been waiting for this facility, the high expectations they have for community involvement,” said Mr. Dorris. “We look forward to hearing next steps from the Illinois Gaming Board, and hopefully partnering with the Southland to see this dream realised.”
Matteson is partnering with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and wants to build a casino at the former Lincoln Mall site at US 30 and Cicero Avenue.
Matteson Village President Sheila Chalmers-Currin said: “We are excited to continue in the selection process and look forward to advocating our wonderful town as the best location for the Southland Casino. We are pleased and extremely excited. I think the Gaming Board saw the commitment to diversity and the community in this project.”
The first phase would be a 123,000-square-foot casino, with a 200-room hotel and convention center to built at a later date