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LIMERICK, PA-Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corp. intends to join the competition for a Pennsylvania gaming license. The firm plans to invest about $325 million in the opening phase of a planned four-phase casino entertainment facility on 125 acres here. The site, located at the Sanatoga exit on Rte. 422, is within a 260-acre planned retail and commercial development on which Chelsea Property Group plans Philadelphia Premium Outlets, a 120-store shopping center. For previous coverage, click here.

“With most of the known gaming sites in the Philadelphia area located in the eastern and southern sections, we believe we have identified an excellent location to conveniently serve a large and growing population,” says William S. Boyd, chairman and CEO of Boyd, in a statement. He also notes the location is “very convenient to the cities of both Reading and nearby Pottstown.” The site is approximately 35 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Plymouth Meeting-based Tornetta Realty Corp. sold the property to Boyd for an undisclosed price.

The initial phase calls for a casino containing 3,000 slot machines, four restaurants, three bars and lounges and a 2,000-vehicle parking garage. Applicants that are awarded licenses by the Pennsylvania Gaming Board are permitted to open with 3,000 slot machines and later expand with an additional 2,000. The size and scope of additional phases “will be determined by the performance of the property,” a Boyd’s spokesman, tells GlobeSt.com.

Among the limited partners for the project are Pat Rooney Jr., Thomas Brogan, David Sweet and Sylvan Lutkewitte. Rooney is a lawyer currently practicing in West Palm Beach, FL, with whom Boyd has worked on other projects. Brogan is a shareholder and attorney in the Harrisburg office of Klett Rooney Lieber & Shorling, and Sweet is a lawyer in the Harrisburg office of the Pepper Hamilton law firm. Lutkewitte is a Montgomery County businessman, according to Stillwell. Boyd will own a substantial majority stake and control the project.

Ground has not yet broken for Chelsea Property’s shopping center, but a spokeswoman confirms its plan for Philadelphia Premium Outlets and tells GlobeSt.com, the project “is in the early stages and has not yet been announced.” Of the Boyd plan, she says, “we hope we get the chance to be neighbors.” Roseland, NJ-based Chelsea is a division of Simon Property Group.

Applications for gaming licenses are due Dec. 28, and awards are to be announced by the Pennsylvania Gaming Board by year-end 2006 at the latest. In all, 14 licenses are available: two for Philadelphia, one for Pittsburgh, two for resorts, seven for racetracks and another two in undesignated areas. The Boyd application is for one of the latter. Trump Entertainment and Resorts and Planet Hollywood are applying for the Philadelphia sites, and Aztar is applying for a casino in Allentown, also one of the undesignated areas.

Solely or in joint venture, Boyd owns 19 casino facilities in Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, Illinois, Indiana and Louisiana. Among them is Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City.

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