Saturday, July 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

PennPraxis Unveils Redesigned Riverfront Casinos

A panel of architectural and traffic experts convened by PennPraxis this week unveiled this morning the rough drafts of plans to redesign two proposed riverfront casinos.

PennPraxis Unveils Redesigned Riverfront Casinos

A panel of architectural and traffic experts convened this week by PennPraxis unveiled this morning the rough drafts of plans to redesign two proposed riverfront casinos.  The results will be presented in final form on Aug. 8 to Mayor Nutter, who last month asked for the casino study after declaring that the current designs for casinos do not fit into the city's long-range plan to redevelop the banks of the Delaware River.

The redesign plans, drawn by architectural designer Tim Magill of 5+Design in Hollywood, Calif. after more than 18 hours of panel work, suggest significant changes in how the casinos would look.  The panel suggested removing grand "porte-cocher" entrances from the front of the casinos, replacing them with courtyard-style arrival points in the center of the two properties.  That has the effect of splitting down the center the casinos -- SugarHouse in Fishtown and Foxwoods in South Philly -- to create a pedestrian friendly passage from the street to the riverfront.  Those passages would be used by drivers to drop off passengers and enter parking garages.  The redesigns also offer alternative entrances to the garages and direct access from parking to the riverfront without the need to pass through the casinos.

As for the garages, the panel says SugarHouse and Foxwoods should conceal them from view.  Foxwoods parking would be set behind retail stores and condos while SugarHouse would be concealed by condos and restaurants.  Both casinos had planned parking garages in their first phases of construction, to be followed by retail, condos and hotels. The panel says those "mixed-use" parts of the projects should be built at the same time as the casinos and garages. 

Foxwoods and SugarHouse, which have been developing their site plans for three years and are not bound by the panel's suggestions, are waiting until they see the PennPraxis report to comment.

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Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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