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
Breaking: Local

Judge rules Tsarnaev can view victim autopsy photos

Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can view the autopsy photographs of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Local

Police warn of attempted assault on woman near…

Police in Cambridge issued an alert after a woman said she was the victim of an attempted sexual assault after leaving Porter Square early Wednesday.…

Local

Kevin Kayvon Edson: Finish line hoax suspect sent…

The man who allegedly left a backpack near the finish line on the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings was due in court on Wednesday.

Local

Wahlbergs expanding Wahlburgers fast food joint across North…

Wahlburgers, a fast casual burger restaurant founded by brothers Mark, Donnie, and Paul Wahlberg and subject of a new A&E Network’s original series, “Wahlburgers”, announced expansion plans in North America,…

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

Entertainment

Here's what to do in Boston this weekend

THEATER The Wholehearted Thursday through April 27 Paramount Center 559 Washington St., Boston $25-$49, 617-824-8400 www.artsemerson.org This conceptually rich show from Stein | Holum Projects,…

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Bruins 2014 playoffs preview: Vegas odds say Stanley…

Bruins 2014 playoffs preview: Vegas odds say Stanley Cup will return to Boston

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

MLB

Injury bug tearing holes in Red Sox

Red Sox fans will recall that last year the bullpen was decimated by injuries. From Franklin Morales to Andrew Miller, from Craig Breslow to Andrew…

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.

Parenting

The 'smartest' summer camps across the country

See a list of summer camps across the country that emphasis learning, while still being fun.

Comments

2

  1. Pingback: Would-be Philadelphia casino operators make public pitches today to state … – Philadelphia Inquirer

  2. Pingback: Station Casinos unveils Graton Resort Casino design – Santa Rosa Press Democrat