Suburban Chicago casino developer buys land for $25M

Sellers, the Weglarz brothers, started assembling land in the area in 2000s

Mark Weglarz along with a rendering of the Wind Creek casino (LinkedIn/Mark Weglarz, Wind Creek Casino, iStock)
Mark Weglarz along with a rendering of the Wind Creek casino (LinkedIn/Mark Weglarz, Wind Creek Casino, iStock)

The house just laid down a $25 million bet.

That’s what the builder of a proposed $440 million casino, and potentially two hotels on the border of Chicago’s southern suburbs paid for the land, near Homewood and East Hazel Crest, to build the 64,000-square foot gambling resort.

The developer, an affiliate of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, is awaiting final approval from the Illinois gaming board, while no construction loan has been recorded on the property, Cook County records show.

The Poarch Band, which operates 10 other gaming resorts using the Wind Creek Hospitality brand, bought the property from Mark and Jon Weglarz, brothers who have been in Chicago-area real estate for decades and operate hotels around the Midway Airport.

The Weglarz brothers started acquiring parcels in the area where the casino will be built in the 2000s, public records show. One of them included in the casino development was bought for $40,000 from the suburban Homewood village government in 2017 and another for $1.2 million from United Central Bank in 2013. The entire development site is 24 acres.

Neither the buyers nor the sellers could be reached for comment.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to TheRealDeal Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Wind Creek Hospitality is nearing a groundbreaking on the property, which straddles the village borders between Homewood and East Hazel Crest, whose leaders have so far welcomed the gaming proposal. Wind Creek expects the casino to generate $155 million in net revenue in its first year and $201 million in its seventh.

The casino is one of three being planned in the Chicago area currently, with the gaming boom in northern Illinois sparked by a 2019 law signed by Governor JB Pritzker that created six new casino licenses. Bally’s $1.7 billion River West proposal in Chicago is the highest profile project in the area. It just received Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s nod ahead of two other finalists and now will take its proposal to the full City Council for a vote.

There is also the Full House Resorts project in far north suburb Waukegan, where the company just finalized an agreement with the city to clear the way for a temporary casino to open up during the construction of a permanent, $400 million entertainment complex with 1,000 slot machines and 50 table games.

The temporary casino site on Lakehurst Road will be running by September, and stay open while the permanent facility is under construction, which could take two to three years to complete.

Read more