Coming Soon: A Casino on North Broad Street?

According to a breaking news story from the Philadelphia Daily News, Bart Blatstein of Tower Investments has unveiled a bold new plan for North Broad Street. And it involves a casino.

Tower, which is about to begin work in earnest at the former state building at Broad and Spring Garden Sts., increased their stake in North Broad Street when they purchased the Inquirer/Daily News Building last year.

State Building in the foreground, Inquirer Building in the background

And that site is the centerpiece of their plan to bring a new hotel and casino to North Broad Street. Looking at the site plan provided by the Daily News, Blatstein plans to convert the Inquirer Building into a hotel plus a parking lot, and intends to build a casino next door, on the 1500 block of Callowhill Street. One more block to the west will be an additional parking garage.

Site plan from the DN.

Clearly, this project would have a transformative effect not only on North Broad Street, but the entire city. A new casino and entertainment complex could stimulate additional development in the area, as the Sugarhouse has probably fueled the momentum of Penn Treaty Village. On the other hand, casinos have significant social costs, and could also generate development that’s not necessarily welcomed by area residents and/or stakeholders. Additionally, we imagine the on/offramp for 676 would become a miserable traffic snarl at all hours of the day.

Is this proposal even possible? Nobody knows. There’s no telling when or if a second license will be available for a Philadelphia casino. But Blatstein seems confident. And for a developer who’s had so much success in this town over the past couple of decades, that confidence speaks volumes.

So readers, what do you think? Is this a good idea? A terrible idea? A dangerous idea? An impossible idea?

One thing is certain- we’ll be talking about this one for years to come.

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