Mayor Lori Lightfoot extends deadline for applications to build Chicago casino – CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Lori Lightfoot is giving potential bidders two more months to submit formal plans to build a casino in Chicago, just weeks before the original deadline.
The city initially gave potential casino operators until August 23 to submit bids for the casino project, but on Friday the mayor’s office said the deadline was extended to October 29.
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“This extension gives potential bidders more time to fully assess the Chicago casino’s desirability; perform additional due diligence; assemble more competitive bidding documents; and explore funding opportunities, ”the mayor’s office said in a press release.
Last year, in response to a city information request from potential bidders interested in building and operating the casino, 8 of the 11 groups that responded said the casino should be built downtown or near. One company preferred a site near the Harborside Golf Course, along Calumet Lake on the southeast side. Two others did not express a preference.
However, according to published reports, the city has struggled to attract formal offers for the casino, with some major casino operators refusing to get involved; and local businesses that have expressed interest have strong ties to Lightfoot, which could put the mayor in a potentially awkward position if they were the only bidders.
Crain’s Chicago Business reports that three other companies have recently expressed an interest in bidding, but need more time to finalize their proposals.
Once bidders submit their plans, applicants will make public presentations on their plans, followed by a series of community meetings before the mayor chooses from among the proposals. The plan is expected to be approved by city council and the Illinois Gaming Board.
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“This historic casino project is expected to increase the economic vibrancy and strength of our city by providing sustainable, well-paying jobs to residents from under-represented backgrounds and by creating a world-class casino complex that attracts visitors from all over.” Lightfoot said in a statement. “Extending the deadline for interested bidders will allow the City to garner as many strong, impactful and transformative proposals as possible. I look forward to seeing these offers come and working closely with the team ultimately chosen to develop Chicago’s very first casino.
The mayor’s office said any proposed Chicago casino complex must include a hotel with up to 500 rooms, meeting space, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.
The selected casino operator would also be allowed to construct a temporary gaming operation during the construction of the permanent facility. They could also install slot machines at O’Hare and Midway airports before the permanent casino is operational.
The city expects the permanent casino to be open by 2025. The casino’s tax revenue would be spent on underfunded police and fire department pension funds.
Other requirements for bidders include:
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- 26% participation of Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), 6% participation of Women Business Enterprises (WBE) and Chicago-based companies in the design and construction of the project.
- 50% of the total working hours of City residents and 7.5% of the total working hours of residents of the area surrounding the project in the construction of the project.
- Hiring project staff to help build wealth in underprivileged communities, prioritizing the hiring of city residents and creating a diverse workforce reflecting the city’s overall diversity.
- Procurement of goods and services during project operation to help build wealth in disadvantaged communities, prioritizing city-based businesses and maximizing high levels of contracts with MBE and WBE suppliers and substantial levels of contracts with veteran-owned businesses and businesses owned by people with disabilities.
Applicants can submit written questions about the auction for the casino to [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 1, 2021, and the subject line should read “City of Chicago, RFP Question (s)”.