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

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.

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