American Place project

Illinois: Waukegan approves consultants for Full House's casino project, seeks strict oversight

Rendering for American Place in Waukegan, Illinois.
Reading time 2:23 min

The city of Waukegan in Lake County, Illinois, has approved consultants for Full House Resorts’ casino in the region. The operator is set to develop American Place, a $500 million gaming and entertainment destination.

While the full casino is under construction, the company will be operating a temporary casino named The Temporary by American Place, with an opening slated for July. Full House is now starting the process of hiring 500 people for the temporary facility, which will feature 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games, a fine-dining restaurant, two additional restaurants, and a center bar.

On Monday, Waukegan’s City Council unanimously approved three consulting contracts at City Hall to help the city oversee the project, reports Chicago Tribune. The city anticipates that, once completed, American Place will be the biggest project in memory for Waukegan.

Consultants' approval took into account hiring locals and minorities. Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor said she wanted to assure that they were part of the process given that in prior large projects done in the past, people from the city were often left out. “We hope they will hire as many local and minority folks as they can,” she said

“We’ve hired a diversity recruiting specialist,” said Alex Stolyar, Full House’s senior vice president and chief development officer, after meeting with Taylor, according to the cited source. Career fairs, first announced last week, will begin on March 15 and last until the end of the month. Once the permanent casino is up and running, expected to occur in the next two to three years, it will employ around 1,800 workers.

The $47,500 consulting contract approved by the council is set to review Full House’s revenue projections for the next 10 years. An agreement has also been reached with estate and development firm JLL to oversee the project as the city’s representative, and a $26,000 contract for a traffic study has been greenlighted. City officials said they want to secure resources to oversee the project given the opening five months from now of the temporary casino.

For the development of The Temporary, the gaming developer agreed to purchase a Sprung tent structure, which has an area “of approximately 1.5 football fields.” The structure is expected to arrive on-site “between late March and late April 2022.” The three consulting contracts for the projects will come from Full House’s escrow.

Stewart Weiss, the city’s attorney, said the supervisor would be responsible to Waukegan officials “to assure the project is going according to plan,” reports Chicago Tribune. Mayor Taylor said she wanted to know how much to plan in regards to finances each year on a long-term basis given the tax aid from the casino.

Once completed, the location is slated to include a world-class casino with a state-of-the-art sportsbook, according to Full House. Moreover, the venue will feature a premium boutique hotel, comprising 20 luxurious villas, each ranging from 1,500 to 2,500 square feet with full butler service; a 1,500-seat live entertainment venue; a gourmet restaurant; additional eateries and bars; and other amenities. The second phase of American Place is expected to include a four-star hotel with 150 rooms

The company revealed this month it entered into an agreement to purchase approximately 10 acres of land adjoining the approximately 30-acre casino site to be leased from the city, thus providing space for additional parking and access to the casino from major roads. Full House is expected to present plans for the temporary venue to the Planning & Zoning Commission in a meeting on March 10.

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