Local developer Bart Blatstein presented his casino project not just as a business venture, but as the culmination of a career that started more than three decades ago with the renovation of townhouse in Queen Village.
Blatstein, of Tower Investments, sees The Provence as a multi-layered entertainment complex with a casino. “What if Philadelphia would be the first major city in the country that had a true entertainment complex in its core,” Blatstein said.
Speaking as much to the local audience as to the seven commissioners for the gaming board, Blatstein tried to separate his project from the pack by focusing on the potential economic impact on the neighborhoods near 400 N. Broad Street.
Veteran casino architect Paul Steelman said most gaming houses are designed to keep people inside. The Provence, in contrast, would revitalize street life in what is now an empty part of Center City.
Among the highlights of Blatstein's presentation:
- Blatstein disclosed that he has made 35 visits to neighborhood groups, churches and schools ot sell his project. “You can’t rebuild a neighborhood from 25,000 feet up or out of town,” Blatstein said.
- Construction will happen in one fell swoop; no phases. And financing, Blatstein said, will not be a problem.
- Stephen Mullin of Econsult Consulting, who was hired by Blatstein to gauge the economic impact, said of all six projects, The Provence would generate the most net gaming revenue for the state and city; and has the most potential for economic spin-off investment.
Blatstein said his goal is to create “a walkable community.”
“I love Philly and this is how I am going to ride out,” Blatstein said to applause.