If the State Gaming Control Board approves the SugarHouse expansion plan this May, it will mean more gambling and more parking along Delaware Avenue. According to Planphilly, the revised plan seeks $410M in financing for a project that includes a seven-story 1,500 space parking garage, instead of a ten-story parking garage as first proposed, with the second-floor being a conference room for various meetings and events. What this plan doesn’t include, however, is a hotel that was originally promised as Phase Two for the gambling hall.
The new expansion plan also calls for an expansion of the gaming floor from 51K to 90K sqft, which will include a poker room and a new high-limit room, a VIP lounge, and two new restaurants. The plan also envisions an expansion of the casino’s waterfront trail, which could mean a bigger Sugarbeach in years to come!
While the plan calls for a shorter garage, the last approved plan stated once a parking garage was built on the site there was to be no surface parking. According to the minutes from a November 2011 Planning Commission hearing, Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Executive Director of the Planning Commission, said the trade off for the smaller garage is keeping the surface lot, which also helped the site meet certain zoning requirements.
Meanwhile, this month Sugarhouse agreed out of court to pay $650K to the federal government to resolve claims that it performed unauthorized work at the casino that violated the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act. Prosecutors said despite three cease and desist letters by the Army Corps of Engineers, SugarHouse performed unauthorized work on several occasions at areas immediately surrounding the casino that included along Piers 42 and 43. Prosecutors said that in 2009 and 2010, SugarHouse management “conducted work and discharged dredged and/or fill material” into the Delaware River without proper permits.
Well, that’s pretty much terrible, isn’t it? Hopefully, the next phase of construction will go on with proper permits, fully authorized work, and no illegal dumping into the Delaware River. And… when can we expect to see that hotel?