Editor's note: A second round of public hearings on applications for Philadelphia's second casino license is underway by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Twenty people have spoken so far. The hearings are expected to last until 9 p.m. tonight (Thursday).
Alan Greenberger is Mayor Nutter’s pointman on casinos. He told the gaming board that at some point in the process, the city will make a recommendation on which of the six projects it likes the best, but for the moment, it’s still in the process of evaluating each of them.
The city has hired a New York consulting firm, AKRF, to help it evaluate each of the proposals.
Greenberger, a deputy mayor and head of the city’s planning commission, told the board that the city is most interested in assessing the economic impact of both gaming and non-gaming features -- so not just potential revenue from slots and tables, but also restaurants, hotel rooms and other amenities.
But big picture, the city will pay close attention to how a project could spur growth and, as Greenberger said, “enhance surroundings and lead to positive” development in surrounding neighborhoods.
Greenberger told the board that the city’s consultant also will try to gauge which of the projects would do the least harm to the city’s first and sole casino, SugarHouse. The city has a vested interest in SugarHouse’s success: it gets help for schools and tax relief for property owners from gaming revenue
With a second casino, SugarHouse will face flat revenue at best, or a decline gaming dollars, Greenberger said.
Also as the head of the planning commssion, Greenberger said the city will be focusing on the impact on traffic and congestion of each project: the Vine Street interchange for The Provence; the I-95 exit for Wynn Philadelphia; and the stadium district for the three South Philadelphia projects.