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A casino development hits a snag, but for once it’s not Revel

8/26/2015 | Real Estate Blog

There may be no project moving more slowly than the development of the Philadelphia’s second casino. In August 2013, we posted about the six proposals that developers submitted to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, but the process had been underway for some time. After much deliberation, the board made its decision in November 2014, naming Live! Hotel & Casino the winner.

The decision was not exactly embraced by one and all. The Philadelphia Business Journal reported that “experts” — economic development and gaming consultants, presumably — believed the location at 900 Packer would draw customers away from other venues, threatening the very existence of at least one. Experts admitted that predicting how Live! would affect the industry was a little tricky, since the project includes a 240-room hotel, a spa and a conference center. the development could attract not just more gaming enthusiasts but more potential customers as well.

In December, the losing bidders filed court challenges to the board’s decision. One claimed that the Live! proposal should not have been considered at all, because it violated the gaming laws in a number of ways. While all of that was going on, though, one of the partners behind the project has been dealing with charges of racial bias and discrimination.

In spite of the background noise, the developers have tried to move forward with the plan. Unfortunately, the project has run into a zoning problem. First, the proposed digital signage does not comply with current zoning laws. Second, the plan does not have enough green space.

We’ll continue this in our next post.

Sources:, “Planning official: Philly casino proposal short of space,” Harold Brubaker, Aug. 19, 2015, “Stadium-district casino wins new Philly license,” Sean Carlin, Aug. 24, 2015