Philadelphia Stadium Casino Developer Wants I-76 Ramp Mandate Dismissed in Relicensing Agreement

Posted on: August 13, 2019, 10:33h. 

Last updated on: August 13, 2019, 12:42h.

The $700 million Philadelphia casino being constructed in the city’s stadium district is requesting the state remove a mandate in its previous licensing agreement that it build a new I-76 on-ramp.

Philadelphia stadium casino Eagles
A planned Philadelphia casino doesn’t want to build a new highway on-ramp that will only help ease traffic nightmares on Eagles game days. (Image: Flickr)

The Cordish Companies, a real estate developer and entertainment company based in Maryland, broke ground on its Philly casino earlier this year. The complex will be known as Live! Philadelphia Casino and Hotel, and be located just steps from where the city’s four major professional sports franchises play.

The long-delayed project is requiring that Cordish and its subsidiary, Stadium Casino LLC, renew its gaming license. The company went before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) last month, and while it’s expected to see the license extended, the company is hoping it comes with an amended provision.

When the PGCB approved Cordish’s plans in 2014 – which was then a joint proposal with Greenwood Gaming, parent company to the Parx Casino in Bensalem – the state required that the stadium casino project fully fund a new westbound on-ramp at I-76 and 7th Street. Cordish says that stipulation should now be annulled.

Ramp Study

The I-76 ramp mandate was thrown into the mix during the competitive bidding process with Penn National Gaming, which eventually withdrew its proposal for the Category 2 gaming license. Cordish subsequently agreed to build the ramp and cover its cost.

Anyone who has attended a major sporting or entertainment event in the stadium district who needs to travel west via I-76 afterwards knows the struggle of accessing the single-lane on-ramp at Broad Street. But now, officials with Stadium Casino say the project isn’t feasible.

Your condition said, get the respective government agencies who are traditionally involved in this process, meaning the Federal Highway Administration, Delaware River Port Authority, PennDOT, and the City of Philadelphia and do a study. The study said there would be no improvement,” Stadium Casino LLC attorney Richard Hayden told the PGCB last month.

“There’s very little, if any, value. It’s only on Eagles game days,” Hayden continued. “I’d ask you to remove the requirement … to build a ramp.”

Community Benefit

Live! Philadelphia will become a full-scale Category 2 casino once it opens, which is scheduled for late 2020. The complex will feature a 240-room hotel, 2,200 slot machines, and 150 table games.

Proponents of allowing Cordish to fold on the on-ramp say the casino will still provide substantial value to the area. The casino operator forecasts that the gaming resort will generate $2 billion in annual economic activity, and deliver $100 million in city taxes over its first five years in operation.

However, there’s been plenty of push-back from local residents in the areas surrounding the stadium district. “We didn’t want the casino, but everybody wants the ramp, especially the people who live closest to Packer Avenue,” resident Judy Cerrone told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s a nightmare. You can’t get in or out at all when there’s a game or a concert.”

The PGCB is set to meet tomorrow in Harrisburg to further consider the Philadelphia casino license.