Following an 18-month postponement, the Wind Creek casino project seems ready to move forward. In that regard, Wind Creek Hospitality, the company behind the project being constructed on land located 20 miles south of Chicago, received a loan that will go a long way in financing the construction. Additionally, this new money is expected to finally launch the project for which a groundbreaking ceremony was organized over a year ago.
Slated to open in January 2025, the said casino will have 73,000-square-feet of gaming space, according to plans. As soon as it officially goes online, it will become a new addition to the ever-growing list of casinos in Illinois.
A $290 million loan to help finance the aforementioned casino project, called Wind Creek Chicago Southland Casino, will fund an accompanying entertainment and hotel complex in addition to the casino. The one lending the money is PCI Gaming Authority, owned by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians tribe, which is the owner of the developer, so it turns out that the company is lending the money to itself.
Furthermore, the total project expense to construct the entire project is $529 million, an increase from the initial estimate of $440 million. Additionally, the aforementioned 73,000-square-foot gaming space will feature 56 table games and 1,350 slot machines. As for the hotel, it will have 252 rooms, restaurants and many other entertainment choices. There will also be an event center, which will cover 75,000 square feet.
Beside that, a full-service spa, attached parking garage and indoor pool area will be involved. Rumor has it that an alliance with Ravisloe Country Club is in talks to add a golf club to the hotel-casino.
When commenting on the project, Jay Dorris, PCI Gaming Authority President and CEO, commented according to Play Illinois: “The new facility will be more than just a casino. 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.”
Supporting the local community is also a plan when the hotel-casino opens, with job offers particularly to members of the minority and LBGQT communities. But that’s not all; because the Southland Public Benefit Fund was also created to award a $150.000 a year in tuition to students who need money to continue their studies, and the hotel-casino also intends to donate $1 million every year to community services and programs, after a year of its opening.
Good economic opportunity:
During the first year after opening, it is projected to collect $155 million in income and more than $200 million per year in the 7th year since opening. In addition to expanding the expanse by almost $100 million, the completion date was changed from late 2023 to the beginning of 2025.
The location was initially selected in 2022, 24 acres of land in the Chicago suburbs of Homewood and East Hazel Crest, after it was bought for $25 million by Jon and Mark Weglarz, which manage many hotels around Midway Airport and have experience when it comes to real estate. However, the latest redevelopment deal between East Hazel Crest and Homewood has delayed the project for 18 months.
Moreover, the construction of the hotel-casino alone will offer nearly 600 jobs. As soon as it opens, it will provide nearly 800 permanent jobs. Commenting on the chosen location, Napoleon B. Harris III, a state senator, said: “The location will make it popular. The easy-to-access location creates a solid foundation for the proposed quality ‘four diamond’ casino and entertainment complex; one that will maximize revenue and draw significant out-of-state visitors on a continuing basis from across the border in Indiana.”
Alliance with Bulls:
The aforementioned hotel-casino revealed a new alliance with Bulls at the end of last year, which is a step in the right direction when it comes to connecting with the local community. The alliance involves “in-arena entertainment branding at the United Center where the Bulls play and other advertising via the Bulls’ social media channels.”
On that note, Wind Creek Hospitality COO, Brett Pinkston, commented: “There was no better way to introduce Wind Creek to the Chicago area and the state of Illinois. As a new brand coming to the Chicago land market, we believed it was important to establish a name for ourselves and a level of credibility with the local market as quickly as possible. Being a native of the region, I can’t imagine a better way to accomplish that task than to partner with the Bulls organization and introduce ourselves to one of the largest and most loyal fan bases in professional sports. It lets us enter the market with a huge voice.”
Bulls Vice President of Business Development, Mark Levitt, added: “We are excited to partner with Wind Creek over the next few seasons to bring fans new in-arena competitions, social content and sweepstakes. This new partnership will support our ongoing efforts to further elevate the game day experience for Bulls fans at the United Center and across our social platforms.”