Illinois: City of Aurora approves TIF district for new land-based casino project

January 30, 2024
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This gives Penn Entertainment permission to fund construction with property tax money.

The Aurora, Illinois City Council recently gave the green light for a tax increment financing (TIF) district for Hollywood Aurora Casino’s new site, according to a local report in the Daily Herald.

The approval would allow Penn Entertainment to use the property tax money for its $360m casino project.

Hollywood Aurora Casino will be built on Aurora’s northeast side across from the Chicago Premium Outlets mall. The new facility will replace the previous riverboat casino, which first opened in 1993, according to the local report.

The current location for Hollywood Casino Aurora on the Fox River downtown will continue its normal operating hours during construction of its land-based counterpart. The project is expected to take nearly two years to complete.

Under the terms of the deal, the TIF district will last 23 years. During that time, any property taxes collected are allowed to be used for improvements on the property. This includes tearing down older structures and constructing a new casino.

According to the local report, the city would borrow up to $50m, which it would then lend to Penn Entertainment. The City of Aurora also plans to chip in another $8m worth of land that will be allocated for the casino.

As part of the agreement, Penn will use property taxes to repay the city’s loan. Penn would have to make up the difference should tax money be insufficient to cover the payments.

Penn first broke ground on the location at the end of November.

Company President and CEO Jay Snowden said, “Our tremendous and long-lasting partnership with the City of Aurora has provided an opportunity to relocate our property to an ideal location that will significantly improve our offerings and further our positive economic impact on the community.”

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