Bally’s completes sale and leaseback of Freedom Center

Oak Street Real Estate will lease the property back for the planned casino

A rendering of Bally's Chicago Casino and Bally’s CFO Bobby Lavan (Bally's, Getty)
A rendering of Bally's Chicago Casino and Bally’s CFO Bobby Lavan (Bally's, Getty)

Bally’s has sold the 30 acres beneath the Freedom Center printing plant that it spent $200 million to buy last week.

Chicago-based Oak Street Real Estate Capital bought the $200 million property and agreed to lease it back to the gaming company for the next 99 years, the Chicago Tribune reported. The deal will raise an additional $300 million for Bally’s to develop the $1.74 billion casino project.

“It’s just another step forward in making sure that the project is fully funded,” Bally’s chairman Soo Kim told the publication Monday.

Earlier this month, Bally’s said it planned to sell the land and lease it back in an effort to raise money to build the new casino project. The 99-year ground lease with Oak Street has 10 options to renew the lease by 20 years each. The lease is expected to generate about 8.5 percent in annual capitalization for Oak Street.

Bally’s CFO Bobby Lavan said the new partnership will provide more liquidity for the casino project without Bally’s having to borrow from other capital markets.

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Oak Street Capital specializes in sale-leasebacks and has more than $18 billion of assets under its management. Last year, New York-based Blue Owl Capital bought Oak Street for $950 million.

Bally’s operates other casinos on land it has lease-back agreements for. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, MS, and Bally’s Tiverton Casino & Hotel in Rhode Island are some of Bally’s leaseback properties that will generate about $635 million for the company.

Bally’s owns and manages 15 casinos across 10 states. The gaming company first moved into Illinois with its June 2021 purchase of Jumer’s Casino & Hotel in Rock Island for $120 million. The company later renamed the casino Bally’s Quad Cities.

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— Victoria Pruitt