Thursday, February 11, 2016
High Stakes: The eseential guide to Philly's next casino - Who has the winning hand?

A space needle for South Philly?


Could you see a Space Needle-like structure rising 615 feet from the ground in South Philadelphia?

PHL Local Gaming says you will, if the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board grants the group the remaining Philadelphia casino license.

The proposed Skyspire would feature gondolas seating about 10 people each and a rooftop restaurant and observation deck. It would not be part of the proposed Casino Revolution, per se, but part of the adjacent LoSo Entertainment Center, which PHL has promised the gaming board it would develop right along with Casino Revolution near Front Street and Packer Avenue.

The gaming board may consider the LoSo Center as a whole when weighing its Philadelphia options, but this needle proposal comes after the PGCB information phase for proposals is closed. PGCB would only have jurisdiction over the casino itself.

Would a space needle be a good addition to Philly?
Don't know

PHL announced Wednesday that it has initiated discussions with the owners of U.S. Thrill Rides to bring their Skyspire to LoSo. It would be 10 feet taller than Seattle's Space Needle. U.S. Thrill Rides has built attractions for theme parks and gaming facilities nationwide, including Six Flags and MGM Grand.

PHL officials said in a press release that since the Space Needle attracts a million visitors a year, similar results could be expected at LoSo.

At hearings where all five casino proposals were heard, PGCB commissioners repeatedly said that the next city casino will need more than just gaming to successfully compete in the local casino market. City officials have started saying the same even earlier. LoSo Entertainment Center, are PHL's proposed answer to that challenge.

This wouldn't be the only Space Needlesque structure proposed for our part of the world. Adventure Aquarium at Camden plans to open a similar structure in 2015.  is dedicated to covering design, planning and development issues in Philadelphia. The news website is a project of PennPraxis, the clinical arm of the School of Design of the University of Pennsylvania. It is funded by the Wyncote Foundation.

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