With Casino Licence Up For Grabs in Philly, Developers Betting On City Center

East
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
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The proposed Market 8 in downtown Philly. (Courtesy of Market East Associates)

The proposed Market 8 in downtown Philly. (Courtesy Market East Associates)

After a Foxwoods casino went bust in Philadelphia, an elusive casino license has been up for grabs, and proposals for a new facility have been pouring in over the Philly region. Six developers are competing for the city’s second casino license, and two of the proposals are betting on Downtown. Curbed reported that while the majority of the proposed developments are planned for the outer edges of Philly, two proposals intend on building right in the heart of the city.

One developer, Blatstein Group, has proposed a colossal $700 million French Baroque-inspired casino, aptly dubbed The Provence, which will take over a sizeable portion of downtown—eight city blocks—at Broad and Callowhill streets, repurposing the former Inquirer and Daily News Tower and building a hotel, retail, entertainment venues, restaurants, and Versailles-style gardens on the roof.

A second proposal called Market 8, located at Market and 8th streets on the site of a surface parking lot, appears to be less kitchy and theme-driven than its competitor, but would be equally as sprawling with 100,000-square feet of gaming, eight signature restaurants, concert venue, and hotel.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is evaluating the proposals and is expected to make a decision later this year, but as Philadelphia Enquirer Architecture Critic Inga Saffron warned last year, “As Philadelphia knows too well, developers seeking casino licenses start by trotting out gauzy renderings of Paris, France, but end up building something more like Paris, Texas.” It remains to be seen whether the two flashy urban proposals will bring real value to Philly. The other regional contenders include Casino Revolution, Live! Hotel and Casino, Hollywood Casino Philadelphia, and Wynn Philadelphia.

The proposed Provence casino. (Courtesy Tower Entertainment)

The proposed Provence casino. (Courtesy Tower Entertainment)

The proposed Provence casino. (Courtesy Tower Entertainment)

The proposed Provence casino. (Courtesy Tower Entertainment)

The proposed Provence casino. (Courtesy Tower Entertainment)

The proposed Provence casino. (Courtesy Tower Entertainment)

Ground floor plan of the proposed Market 8 casino.

Ground floor plan of the proposed Market 8 casino. (Courtesy Market East Associates)

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