Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Wynn details proposed Fishtown casino

Steve Wynn talks about his design decisions for Wynn Philadelphia, proposed for 60 waterfront acres in Fishtown.

Wynn details proposed Fishtown casino

Wynn Philadelphia Salon Suite Living Room
Wynn Philadelphia Salon Suite Living Room

Steve Wynn sent this new rendering of the River Walk for his proposed Fishtown casino on the Delaware River waterfront.

But the most talked about feature of his site plan, unveiled last week, is a 20-acre parking area with a green roof.

In a phone interview from Las Vegas Thursday, Wynn said he decided to put all the parking on one level as a convenience to customers. Whether bound for the casino, restaurants, hotel or River Walk, patrons could drive to their destination, he said.

For customers, “ground-level parking makes it totally convenient to drive to the part of the project that they want to enjoy,” he said. “In a drive-in market, access is everything.” The heated facility, he explained, would not be a “clunky garage sticking out.”

“The reason you don’t see the garage,” Wynn said, “is it’s surrounded by trees and it’s dropped about two or three feet below grade.”

The proposed green roof, meanwhile, is meant as a green design feature for customers sitting by windows at second-floor restaurants or meeting rooms.

The public, however, will not be able to walk on the roof. “I don’t want people wandering through the restaurant garden when someone is having dinner there,” Wynn said.

Steve Wynn’s plan will also have a river walk with a cafe, ice cream stand and bike rentals.

But whatever you do, don't call the River Walk a boardwalk. In a telephone interview today, Wynn explained: "This is all landscape and trees. It takes on a completely different look. When you bring the lush landscaping that close, you don't get a boardwalk look."

Read more of the interview with Wynn in Sunday's Inquirer.

Also Thursday, team Wynn met perhaps its toughest critics when it sat down with the board of the Central Delaware Advocacy Group at 2424 Studios, 2424 York St. in Fishtown.

CDAG, for short, is made up of neighborhood associations that see themselves as advocates of the central Delaware master plan. What’s that? In case you’re new to town, it was an impressive civic exercise five years ago to articulate what the people of Philadelphia would like to see happen along the waterfront.

“You're wasting a lot of land just for cars,” said Robert Kettell, a representative of the Old City Civic Association.

 Matt Ruben, chair of CDAG, called Wynn’s design for a public trail along the waterfront “fantastic,” but noted that the plan calls for very little open space on the southern end of the property.

Rene Goodwin, another CDAG member, pointed out to the Wynn team that Philadelphia has a different "urban life" than Las Vegas and is more of a walking city, than a driving one. "It may be a different paradigm for you, but it could be an interesting one," she said

Inquirer Staff Writer
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Reporter Jennifer Lin follows the competition among the six contenders for Philadelphia’s second gaming license.

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