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HARRISBURG, PA – A total of six investment groups, including partnerships led by Bart Blatstein of Tower Investments and Las Vegas gaming and hotel mogul Steve Wynn, filed applications by Thursday’s deadline for the second casino license in Philadelphia.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reports the following applications were filed by the Nov. 15th deadline:
• Tower Entertainment, LLC is seeking to win approval for The Provence at 400 North Broad St. The group is led by Bart Blatstein, president and CEO of Tower Investments, Inc. of Philadelphia. Hard Rock International announced on October 25 it had reached an agreement to manage the casino.
• Market East Associates, a group led by the Goldenberg Group is seeking to win approval for its proposed Casino Philadelphia project at 8th and Market Street.
• Wynn PA, Inc., led by Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts Ltd., filed an application to build Wynn Philadelphia at 2001 Beach St. and 2001 through 2005 Richmond St. The project calls for a 150,000-sf casino and a 300-room all suites hotel.
• PHL Local Gaming, LLC, a group that includes Joseph Procacci, owner of the storied local wholesale produce company Procacci Brothers, is seeking to build Casino Revolution at 3333 South Front St. A partner in the group is Merit Gaming of Chicago.
• Stadium Casino, LLC, which includes the Cordish Companies and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, is seeking approval to develop the Live! Hotel and Casino at 900 Packer Ave.
• PA Gaming Ventures, LLC, led by Penn National Gaming Inc., is hoping to build Hollywood Casino Philadelphia at 700 Packer Ave.
The Wyomissing, PA-based company reports that Hollywood Philadelphia would feature a 100,000-sf casino floor with 2,050 slot machines, 66 live table games, a 15-table poker room and structured parking for 3,500 vehicles. Other amenities at the proposed project would include a steakhouse, sports pub, casual grill, noodle bar, food court, casino bar and a 180-seat entertainment lounge. The master plan for the development contemplates a phase II expansion with a 500-guestroom hotel property, space for an additional 1,000 slot machines, 40 table games, five poker tables, additional food and beverage facilities, and increased structured parking capacity.
Penn National has held preliminary discussions with Congressman Robert Brady, State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams and Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson regarding the proposed Hollywood Casino at 700 Packer Avenue in South Philadelphia. A proposal has been floated by Rep. Brady and others to have the City of Philadelphia have ownership of the casino. Penn National Gaming says it can own no more than one third of the equity in the facility given its preexisting ownership of Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.
The company states that the legal ownership issues present “an exciting opportunity for the City of Philadelphia or one of its designated entities who would benefit from Penn’s proven management expertise, while maximizing the economic opportunity for the community.” Penn National also says it is evaluating the possibility of relocating the proposed Hollywood Casino facility to the 300 block of Packer Avenue in South Philadelphia on property currently owned by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, totaling nearly 27 acres. The company anticipates a near term announcement on these plans.
The same day that it filed the application for the Category 2 license with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control board, Penn National reported plans to separate its gaming operating assets and real property assets into two publicly traded companies. The gaming assets would be operated under Penn National Gaming (“PNG”), while its real estate assets would be folded into a tax-free spin-off to holders of PENN common stock in the form of a publicly traded REIT (“PropCo”), subject to required gaming regulatory body approvals.