The long-delayed Philadelphia casino project in the city’s Stadium District hopes to open in 2020 and bring commercial gambling next door to the homes of the NFL Eagles, MLB Phillies, NBA 76ers, and NHL Flyers.
The Cordish Companies, a Maryland-based gaming developer, recently bought out its former partner in the casino project, Greenwood Racing, parent company to the Parx Casino in Bensalem. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved the buyout this week, and Cordish told the state agency it will waste no time in moving the Philly casino forward.
Greenwood and Cordish were working together under an entity known as Stadium Casino, LLC.
We’re at the final stage,” Cordish Global Gaming CEO Joseph Weinberg told the PGCB of imminent construction beginning. “We’ve been working at it hard.”
The casino complex, which will be known as Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphia, was originally projected to cost $450 million. However, as the development continued to take shape, the budget swelled to $600 million. Now, it’s estimated to cost $700 million.
Cordish owns and operates Maryland’s Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover.
In addition to approving the ownership change for the Philadelphia casino, the PGCB granted Cordish with a two-year extension, with an optional third year, to complete the development. Weinberg says additional time was needed due to development changes.
Cordish acquired a vacant former Holiday Inn located on the casino site in January for $37 million. Cordish and Greenwood initially said they would renovate the 240-room property, but the plan now is to demolish the building.
“As we got into detailed plans for the project, we were just not happy with that building sitting in the middle of the site,” Weinberg explained. “It was really more of a hindrance to the project than an asset.”
The goal is to create a one-of-a-kind attraction. The Stadium District is already home to Cordish’s Xfinity Live! entertainment and dining complex.
“Our vision for this project is that it becomes part of what really would be one of the most unique sports, gaming, and hospitality destinations in the country,” Weinberg told the PGCB. ” “This is a very important project to the city.”
Two casino licenses were issued for Philadelphia proper in 2006. SugarHouse in the city’s Fishtown neighborhood opened in 2010.
The Philly area is also home to other casinos but aren’t technically located there. Harrah’s Philadelphia is in Chester, Parx is about 15 miles north of the city, and the Valley Forge Casino is adjacent to the King of Prussia Mall 15 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
Stadium Casino, now fully owned by Cordish, paid $40.1 million in January to win the state’s second satellite casino auction. The company selected Westmoreland, a town 25 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, for its so-called “mini casino. The facility will be permitted to house 750 slot machines and 30 table games.
A former Bon-Ton store inside the Westmoreland Mall has been proposed for the satellite casino.