In today’s Inquirer, we learned about another potential location for Philadelphia’s second casino. Last summer, we suggested the Sports Complex as a location that could work for this (not really welcome, but what can we do) casino. And it seems that Stadium Casino LLC agrees with us.
The folks behind the Parx Casino in Bensalem are partnering with Cordish Companies, the folks who own Xfinity Live! with a plan to build a $500M casino hotel at the site of the Holiday Inn that’s just to the north of Citizens Bank Park. This project would include a 200,000 sqft casino with 2,000 slot machines and 125 table games, as well as a pool, a spa, a music venue, restaurants, and a 2,500 spot parking garage. The 240-room hotel building would remain, but it would be renovated into a new, upscale concept.
It’s clear that this group has the experience, and they seem to have the financing to make this project a reality. But will they receive the endorsement of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board? And if we are to assume that we are absolutely, no doubt about it getting another casino, would this be the best? Or the least worst?
A little less than two weeks ago, Bart Blatstein revealed his plan for The Provence, a casino/hotel/entertainment complex at Broad & Callowhill. Many locals have spoken favorably about this plan, with appreciation for the location, the execution, and the qualifications of the team behind it. Others question the location, the execution, and the qualifications of the team behind it. So… there’s that.
We can appreciate the viewpoint that the Provence could be exciting and sexy, and that it could contribute to the ongoing redevelopment of North Broad Street. We also, however, see the risk that’s inherent in opening a casino in a downtown area, and recognize the possibility that it could submarine much of the progress that’s taken place on that stretch, and more that’s on its way. So while the upside is great, the risks to the surrounding neighborhoods are also significant.
The greatest benefit to a Sports Complex location, in our minds, is that it takes some of the risk out of the equation. Because this area is insulated by parking lots and highways, it’s not as likely that vice will spread from the site, particularly if the casino is required to provide over-the-top security. Additionally, millions come to the stadiums from outside to city to attend games, concerts, and major events, a factor that would seem to provide different customers than a downtown casino. No doubt though, it would still have an effect on quality of life for area residents, whose support might be impossible to procure.
We imagine that a couple of other casino proposals will trickle out in advance of the deadline on the 15th. Will this one be the best? The Provence? A Market East location? Something we haven’t heard about yet?
Better yet, is there such a thing as a best option here?