Developer wants to build $250M casino in Country Club Hills
BY CASEY TONER AND STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com November 12, 2012 1:26PM
Cannery Casino Resorts wants to build a $250 million casino in Country Club Hills. | File photo
Updated: December 14, 2012 6:15AM
Despite uncertainty over the proposed expansion of casino gambling in Illinois, a North Las Vegas-based casino developer and operator is making plans to build a $250 million casino with a 200-room hotel in Country Club Hills.
Cannery Casino Resorts is to formally announce its plans Tuesday at a news conference at the Country Club Hills Wellness Center, 4411 Gatling Blvd.
Before the company can realize its plans, the state Legislature would have to pass a casino expansion bill that Gov. Pat Quinn would agree to, or one that would garner enough votes to withstand a Quinn veto.
Quinn in August vetoed a bill that would have established riverboat casinos in an undecided south suburban location as well as Danville, Park City, Rockford and Chicago.
Under that bill, municipalities in Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Rich, Thornton and Worth townships could submit bids for the casino, and the Illinois Gaming Board would select the winner. The mayors of Chicago Heights, Ford Heights, Lynwood and Calumet City also have expressed interest in pursuing a casino.
Bill Paulos, whose company is a majority owner of Cannery Casino Resorts, thinks Cannery’s plan might convince the state to OK a Country Club Hills casino. It would be built at the northeast corner of Cicero Avenue and 175th Street, near the Interstate 80 and I-57 interchange.
The land is owned by Lafayette and Marguerite Gatling, owners of the Gatling’s Chapel funeral homes in Chicago, according to a news release from Cannery. They would be partners in the project.
“We know there’s a lot of decisions yet to be made, but we feel confident that our presentation to the Illinois Gaming Board would be well-received,” Paulos said. “They know our company. They’re familiar with us. So I think we’d have as good a chance as anyone.
“It’s up to the state. For lack of a better word, it becomes a beauty contest. We have incredible local partners in the Gatlings, whom everybody respects and knows.”
About 90 million motorists pass the spot annually, the company said.
“We believe it’s absolutely the best site in the southern suburbs. We believe that Illinois makes the most possible money out of that location,” Paulos said. “The access to it is wonderful with 57 and 80, and 175th Street and Cicero.
“You will have a retail development built there if there’s a casino or not. And then you have another 100 acres of developable land ... so it would be an absolute centerpiece of economic development.”
Paulos said a Country Club Hills casino can be built and operational within 18 months of being licensed. About 1,000 full-time jobs would be created for the casino, the news release said.
An artist’s rendering of the project is to be released Tuesday.
“We’ll begin with a one-story casino with a 200-room, five-story hotel,” Paulos said.
A theater may be part of the project’s future, he said, noting the Gatlings’ background in Gospel music.
Cannery Casino Resorts owns two casinos in North Las Vegas and the Meadows Casino and Race Track in Washington, Pa., outside Pittsburgh.
Paulos said no dates have been set to talk with the gaming board.
“We just want to make sure everybody realizes that we are very interested, have a great location and a great partnership. As far as the state is concerned, if they do pass this law and we were selected, we could move this along faster than anybody,” Paulos said.