Blatstein unveils plans for casino on Philadelphia’s North Broad Street

Bart Blatstein wants to build a $700-million casino and entertainment complex on North Broad Street. Called “The Provence,” it would rise on the former home of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News.

“It’s a magnificent structure,” said Blatstein. “It’s in a magnificent location.”

Blatstein unveiled his plans Wednesday at an upscale party in Northern Liberties, which was attended by lawmakers, union leaders and businesspeople.

Blatstein said the complex would create thousands of jobs, and generate $25 million in annual tax revenues for Philadelphia once it opened.

“It’s a great shot in the arm for North Broad Street,” said Blatstein.

More than gaming

He stressed that it wouldn’t just be a casino. The complex would include a 125-room hotel, rooftop shopping, a private swim club and a theater.

Council President Darrell Clarke said he supports a second casino in Philadelphia. The former Inquirer and Daily News building is in his district.

“The most significant aspect of any casino, wherever it may be in the city of Philadelphia, is the opportunity to provide a significant number of jobs,” said Clarke.

Critical response

Not everyone was excited about the project.

John Chin, executive director of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, said SugarHouse Casino has been bad for his neighborhood. He doesn’t want another casino in the city.

“People are gambling their hard-earned money away,” he said.

When Blatstein was asked about critics who argue that casinos create social problems, a spokesman whisked him away.

Blatstein’s plans are due to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board by Nov. 15. Other developers are also expected to apply for the second casino license designated for Philadelphia.

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