Hollywood Casino Aurora to move to site near Interstate 88

Hollywood Casino Aurora has announced its intention to leave downtown and move to a site near the Interstate 88 interchange with Farnsworth Avenue in the city.

Officials at Penn Entertainment Inc., owners of Hollywood Casino, made the announcement Monday on its website, announcing it would build a casino and hotel with about 900 slot machines, 50 live table games, a Barstool Sportsbook and about 200 hotel rooms at the new Aurora site.

The property would also feature a full-service spa, bars and restaurants, about 10,000 square feet of meeting areas and an event center.

According to Penn, the project would have an estimated budget of $360 million, and would be adjacent to the Chicago Premium Outlets mall, just off the I-88 interchange.

Hollywood Casino Aurora to move to site near Interstate 88

The development would be on land the city purchased several years ago along Farnsworth that included two hotels the city tore down.

Penn’s announcement said the deal would involve the city transferring land. It also said the city would contribute about $50 million to the project, raised through issuing bonds.

The city itself has not announced the plans, although Clayton Muhammad, Aurora’s chief communications and equity officer, released a statement saying a full presentation of the redevelopment deal between the city and Penn Entertainment would take place at Thursday’s City Council Finance Committee meeting at 3 p.m. in the City Council chambers at City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place.

That would be the beginning of the City Council process. Any redevelopment deal requires council approval.

“The proposed plans represent one of the most significant economic development investments in the history of Aurora,” Muhammad said.

In an interview with The Beacon-News several weeks ago, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said the pending deal would include all the city land, both along Farnsworth and along Bilter. He said it would encompass an entire entertainment district in the area. The casino would be placed on the site along Farnsworth that once held the two hotels.

He said the move by the casino and the investment by the city is so the city can better take advantage of the about eight million people who visit the outlet mall a year.

“It will change the face of the city of Aurora,” Irvin said.

“Our plan for Aurora is to construct a modern, best-in-class casino and hotel in an ideal location off I-88 that will allow us to serve the millions of visitors to the adjacent Simon Premium Outlet Mall,” said Jay Snowden, Penn Entertainment chief executive officer and president.

He said construction of the new property is expected to begin in late 2023, subject to city and regulatory approval.

In addition to announcing the Aurora move, Penn Entertainment also announced it would relocate its downtown casino in Joliet to the Rock Run Crossings development near the Interstate 80 and Interstate 55 interchange.

“These two projects will significantly improve our offerings in the highly attractive Chicagoland market while creating hundreds of new full-time jobs for the local communities,” said Snowden.

Beacon-News reporter Megan Jones contributed to this article.

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