Developer plans casino complex for Inquirer-Daily News site

A Philadelphia developer wants to put a hotel casino complex on North Broad Street in the building that currently houses the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News.

Bart Blatstein, president of Tower Investments, has bought the iconic white tower building and several adjacent properties on Callowhill Street.

The papers are moving to Market Street, and Blatstein says he wants to build not just a casino, but an entertainment complex.

“It would be the only full entertainment complex anchored by a casino in a top-five major city in the country,” Blatstein said.

Blatstein said the project will include a 200-room hotel, a 100,000-square-foot casino, five or six restaurants, a concert hall and shopping areas.

To do it, he’ll have to convince Pennsylvania’s Gaming Control Board to award him the unused casino license designated for Philadelphia. The Foxwoods Group had planned to use that license for a gaming hall on the South Philadelphia waterfront, but that project is dead.

It’s not clear when or how the Gaming Control Board plans to proceed with the Foxwoods license, but Blatstein said he and his team are anxious to get started.

“We have engineers and consultants. We’re ready to go,” Blatstein said. “We’ve even done a preliminary traffic study showing that it has minimal impact.”

Blatstein, who said he hasn’t discussed the proposal with neighborhood groups, said he is anxious to meet with “any stakeholders” on the project.

One has already weighed in.

John Chin, executive director of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, opposes a casino adjacent to his community.

“Gambling is a problem for the residents of the Chinatown community,” Chin said. “And, as we said before [when a casino was proposed for Market Street East], a casino so close to Chinatown would just be too much of an enticement for problem gamblers.”

Elizabeth Fiedler contributed to this report.

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