Brian Ford, CEO of the local investor group pushing to build the Foxwoods casino in Philadelphia, said they would follow an order from the state Gaming Control Board today to build something "substantially similar" to the project approved by the board in December 2006. Foxwoods, which toyed with the idea of moving to Center City, was also ordered to stay put on its original location at Christopher Columbus Boulevard at Reed Street in South Philly.
The board ordered Foxwoods to hit a series of benchmarks, including advance warning of any changes in the casino license ownership or bankruptcy by any of the owners. That seemed to be motivated by the news this week from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, partnered with the local investors in the casino project, was trying to restructure more than $1 billion in debt. Ford said that should not impact the local project.
"Anytime anyone has difficulty in the family, it creates a distraction," Ford said. "We've been assured by our partners at Foxwoods that this won't be the case here."
Ford also said it was difficult to imagine the investors walking away from the casino license since they've sunk $160 million so far in the project.
"We can't imagine such an event," Ford said. "How do you walk away from an investment of that magnitude."
The investors considered moving to Center City due to interference from city officials, including Mayor Nutter's administration, which had concerns about the original site. Ford said the investors are confident that the city will cooperate on casino plans for South Philly.