Sports Complex Landscape Alert!

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 12.41.55 PMGood news, everyone who hates ugly things: that hideous advertising tower leftover from yesteryear which kills the sightline from Citizens Bank Park is coming down this week [see UPDATE, the original report was misleading]. Now, if only they can do something about the Oliday Inn.

About that.

Across the street, where chin straps gather to drink $7 Bud Lights and eat from a German beer hall that is absolutely nothing like a German beer hall, Xfinity Live! developer Cordish Companies is among the six companies whose applications are being considered today by the Gaming Control Board for Philadelphia’s next casino. Cordisheseseseseses’ idea? A hotel and casino where the Holiday Inn currently stands.

From a great breakdown of casino applications* in the Daily News:

The bidder: The Maryland-based Cordish Cos., which developed Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, has a vision to turn South Philly’s pro-sports complex into an entertainment mecca, with a casino and hotel next to the three stadiums and Xfinity Live!, another Cordish project.

The proposed Live! Hotel and Casino would be just north of Citizens Bank Park, at the site of the Holiday Inn on Packer Avenue. Cordish wants to build a 240-room hotel with 2,000 slot machines and 125 table games.

The backers: Although Cordish is an out-of-state operation – it has downtown developments across the country, including five casinos – it’s partnering with Greenwood Racing, the owners of Bensalem’s Parx Casino, which last year produced more tax revenue than any other Pennsylvania casino. The joint venture with Cordish is called Stadium Casino.

The connected: Former state Rep. Dick Hayden, a Democrat who is close to Nutter and chaired his 2007 campaign, is working on their bid.

Hayden was also appointed by then-Gov. Ed Rendell to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

The Harrisburg lobbying firm Gmerek Government Relations is also on board. The team includes Richard Gmerek, a well-known lobbyist who cut his teeth as a lawyer for the state Senate Republican caucus; Chris Lammando, who worked for Govs. Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker; and Zachary Strohm, who has worked for state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

The concept of a hotel, at least, has been in the works for years from the folks who brought you Xfinity Live!(!!!!!). It was originally proposed for the site, but the economy (OH HOLY SHIT WHAT THE FUCK!!**), at the time, squashed those plans. Ed Snider, however, has always maintained that it could still happen.

This proposal wouldn’t actually be connected to Xfinity Live!, and it’s unclear if Snider and Comcast would have anything to do with it. I’d imagine there’s some partnership opportunities, though.

We might not know for some time which company gets the license. But, there’s a chance that a new hotel and casino comes to South Philly… you know, to class up the joint.

UPDATE: It’s not coming totally down– just being lowered:

The tower will remain in a different form, a team spokesperson said. It will be lowered in height — from 157 feet tall to 115 feet — and become a two-sided message board. Construction began this week.

OK then.

*I’m really surprised that Joshua Harris’ Caesars Entertainment hasn’t submitted an application.

**A stink bug buzzed its way to the back of my chair in my otherwise quiet office and scared the shit out of me. I’m good now.

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9 Responses

  1. I have been wondering ever since CBP was built, why the HELL is that dumb advertising tower there? Since the Chinamen didn’t want CBP in Chinatown which would have given amazing skyline views in the heart of the city (similar to the parks out in Seattle), this was the next best option. But that dumb frickin’ tower has gotten in the way for so many years.

    I actually blame that tower for the 2 additional World Series’ we should have won that were left on the table.

  2. The only thing I took from this “article” was that you drink $7 Bud Lights and eat from a German beer hall that is absolutely nothing like a German beer hall.

  3. If I recall, Caesar’s isn’t allowed to. Caesars bid on one of the original plans for a casino that eventually became the Foxwoods or SugarHouse plan, I can’t remember which, but pulled out of it once Caesar’s and Harrah’s merged and Harrah’s took over the situation in Chester. They either didn’t want two of their own casinos that close to each other competing for each other, or there was a state regulation that prohibited them from doing so. Again, can’t remember which. But I bet Harris would be in on it if it was possible for him to.

  4. Caesars has 23 billion dollars in debt due at the end of this year. Currently they have alternate financing in place for 14 of it. Gonna be a fire sale there. Until then no expansion especially in this market which is already saturated.

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