VIDEO: Architect gives tour of Blatstein’s planned North Broad casino

In advance of Tuesday’s state gaming board hearings, where the six operators vying for Philadelphia’s remaining casino license will for the first time present their plans, architect Paul Steelman on Monday laid out his vision for the former Inquirer building on North Broad Street.

The sprawling site was purchased by developer Bart Blatstein for conversion into The Provence Casino and Resort. “Bart Blatstein doesn’t have a vision to open a casino,” Steelman said. “He wanted to make a big, big entertainment complex.”

Plans include a hotel, restaurants, shops and a European-style village spanning across multiple rooftops with a pool club, sky bar and theater space.

Steelman was adamant that the proposed project is not a typical gaming spot. Unlike most resort casinos – in which the building is about three times the size of the gaming floor, The Provence will be about nine times as large.

“Many times as casino designers, we’re designing the building to take advantage of the casino for financial reasons,” Steelman said. He called the planned emphasis on non-gaming activities “our gift to the city of Philadelphia.”

“All the casinos you’re going to see [at the hearings] are designed to keep people in,” Steelman said. “Our building communicates with the exterior and allows people to go onto the streets and flow into the neighborhoods. And when people flow into neighborhoods, what happens? Commerce happens.”

The gaming floor will be naturally lit by large windows and is on the third floor so visitors don’t have to walk through the casino to patronize the complex’s other offerings.

“Many times as casino designers, we’re designing the building to take advantage of the casino for financial reasons,” Steelman said. He called The Provence’s planned emphasis on non-gaming activities “our gift to the city of Philadelphia.”

The casino’s main entrance will open onto Vine Street with an elaborate garden atrium. “This isn’t stepping into a smoky, dark building,” Steelman said. “This is stepping into something beautiful that makes you feel good.”

 

Homage to history

 

Steelman said it’s important to respect the building’s storied history.

It was once owned by publishing giant Walter Annenberg, whose office is being turned into an executive hotel suite. “We hope this and some of the suites on [the 12th] floor will hearken back to the historic context of this great man,” Steelman said.

Annenberg in the mid-30s purchased The Philadelphia Inquirer. Steelman said creators have been throwing around dining space names paying homage to the paper, as well.

Some of the possibilities are a coffee shop or restaurant named “Ink” or “Funnies” and a bar called “Scandals.”

“I think it should be a fun play,” he said. “People will remember they’re in a historical building, yet it has a renewed use.”

 

Rolling the dice

 

Steelman said that other features – such as the iconic tower and a globe light hanging in the lobby – will be untouched. “We are going to respect this city like you cannot believe,” he said.

Steelman said that, if chosen for a license, Blatstein plans to have a series of public tours and in-depth conversations with neighbors so their input can play a part in the complex’s development.

As far as the team’s chances at today’s hearings, Steelman was confident. “I think our application is very strong, very good for the city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania and a very good reuse of a historical building.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…