Rivers Casino Philadelphia Partnering With Mixed-Use Development for Luxury Hotel

Posted on: July 12, 2023, 10:39h. 

Last updated on: July 12, 2023, 12:27h.

Rush Street Gaming, the owner of Rivers Casino Philadelphia, has long planned a hotel for the city casino overlooking the Delaware River. Nearly 13 years after the casino opened, Rush officials say the firm is finally ready to bring the hotel to reality.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia hotel The Battery
The Battery, formerly the PECO Delaware River Generating System, is being redeveloped into a mixed-use property. Part of the project, the owners of Rivers Casino Philadelphia say, will serve as a luxury hotel for the adjacent casino. (Image: The Battery)

Rivers Philadelphia is one of five casinos in the Philadelphia market, though one of only two that’s located in the city proper. Parx Casino is in nearby Bensalem, Valley Forge Casino Resort is in King of Prussia, and Harrah’s Philadelphia is in Chester.

Live! Casino Hotel Philadelphia, located in the Stadium District, is the other casino in the city.

Rivers Philadelphia opened as SugarHouse in September 2010. The property was rebranded in 2019 to fall in line with Rush’s other Rivers-branded regional casinos in Pittsburgh, Des Plaines, Ill., and in Upstate New York in Schenectady. Rush has since opened Rivers Casino Portsmouth in Virginia.

During its licensing petition before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in 2006, Rush reps told state regulators that its Philadelphia casino would one day feature an on-site hotel. Those plans have been repeatedly delayed over the years. But the Chicago-based gaming operator announced this week that a hotel is at long last in the works.

Power Plant Refurbishment

Rivers Casino Philadelphia is located adjacent to Penn Treaty Park. On the other side of the public greenspace is where PECO (Philadelphia Electric Company) ran the Delaware River Generating System, a power plant that opened in 1921 and supplied about half of the city’s power before it was decommissioned in 2008.

The PECO power plant was sold to Bart Blatstein’s Tower Investments in 2015. Blatstein, a Philly real estate magnate who additionally owns the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City, initially planned to renovate the facility into an events space.

Blatstein folded on those plans amid the pandemic and eventually sold the property to Lubert-Adler. Lubert-Adler is controlled by another prominent Pennsylvania businessman, Ira Lubert, who is trying to gain a casino license for a mini-casino at the Nittany Mall near Penn State University.

Lubert’s team is moving forward with a mixed-use development for the former power plant. Dubbed The Battery, the complex is to include residences, office space, events capabilities, and a hotel.

Rivers officials announced this week that the casino is partnering with Lubert-Adler for the hotel portion of The Battery. The hotel is to feature 62 luxury guest rooms, ranging in size from 854 square feet to suites measuring as large as 2,300 square feet.

A hotel addition for Rivers Casino Philadelphia has always been part of the master plan for our Fishtown property,” said Tim Drehkoff, CEO of Rivers Casino and Rush Street Gaming. “The location and grandeur of The Battery allowed us to join a neighboring parcel, already in progress, with historic Philly significance.”

The Battery is just a short walk from the casino by way of the Delaware River Trail.

Investment Commitment

The Battery is a 500,000-square-foot redevelopment that, along with the hotel, is to include 171 residential units and 135,000 square feet of office space. Lubert-Adler opened a leasing office in May.

The residences and hotel will be complemented by a lobby café and wine bar, a coworking space, library, study, golf simulator and putting green, indoor gym, and a rooftop pool with private cabanas and a lounge. Pier 61 will additionally provide an exclusive gathering space for residents and guests on the Delaware River.