Wednesday, December 24, 2014
High Stakes: The eseential guide to Philly's next casino - Who has the winning hand?

Casino Revolution

Joe Procacci's Casino Revolution, proposed for Front Street and Pattison Ave, would be a world-class gaming destination for South Philly.

South Philadelphia Casino Revolution

Local produce tycoon Joseph G. Procacci, known as the ‘Tomato King,’ presents his vision of a casino complex near the stadiums where he’s made his fortune.

Name

Casino Revolution - PHL Local Gambling, LLC

Location

Front Street and Pattison Avenue, within the food distribution district in Philadelphia and near the South Philly stadium complex area.

Estimated Cost

$428 million.

Size

415,400 square feet, including 176,800 for casino and 238,500 for a 250-room hotel.

Gaming

2,400 slot machines , 80 table games, 25 poker tables.

Theme

“We’re talking about a destination facility, some place with a huge hotel, a four-star hotel, with restaurants, will all sorts of things that will attract people from all over the East Coast, actually, maybe all over the country,” said investor Walter P. Lomax,  a physician and longtime Philadelphia resident, on PHL’s presentation video.

The Details

Situated about four blocks east of Citizens Bank Park, Casino Revolution would be a mile from the closest residential zoning, meaning it could face the least neighborhood resistance from the six proposed projects. Like the two other proposed casinos near the stadiums, it’s close to exits from I-95, I-76 and the Walt Whitman Bridge. But Casino Revolution is farther from mass transit – about a mile hike from AT&T Station of the Broad Street Line. Public access will be from Front Street.

The principals say Casino Revolution could “serve as a major hub for the ongoing revitalization of the Food Distribution District.”

Among the plans:

  • A “four-star, first-class” 250-room hotel would have 220 deluxe rooms, 30 suites and a fitness center.

  • Dining options would include a sports bar, cafe, buffet, steakhouse, Italian restaurant, coffee/espresso bar, and “team dining room.”

  • 2,800 parking spaces would include 1,600 on a parking deck, 800 in a lot, and 400 for staff.

Impact

  • The $428 million project would involve an estimated $65.2 million in construction payroll, creating the equivalent of 1,235 construction jobs over 12 months.

  • The casino-hotel complex would employ an estimated 1,369 people, with $34.5 million in payroll and $4.3 million in tips a year, plus benefits.

  • Annual government revenues generated are estimated to include $141 million for annual gaming taxes and regulatory fees, $11.5 million in payroll-related taxes, $4.1 million in property taxes, $1.8 million in sales and use taxes for the state, $300,000 for the city.

  • The estimated 4.1 million patron visits a year, including 131,000 overnight stays, is expected to spend or gamble more than $56.5 million.

Who’s involved

“From the top down, PHL represents local pride and local talent,” declares a PHL Local Gambling promotional video. At the top of the ownership is South Philadelphia produce tycoon Joseph G. Procacci, with a dominating stake of 80 percent.

Procacci has been called the ‘Tomato King’ because he and his brother, Michael, reportedly sell about 20 percent of the nation’s fresh tomatoes. (See article: “Tomato King goes to war for his casino.”)

As the current round of casino proposals neared, potential bidders kept trying to buy property Joseph Procacci owns in South Philly. Having done some developing of his own – including turning 2,000 acres of tomato fields into a luxury golf course community in Naples, Fla., with his brother  – the decision was made to make his own casino bid.

Philadelphia-born-and-raised physician Walter P. Lomax Jr. has about a 12 percent share of PHL through Pheasant Hill Parters, LLC.

For casino development expertise they’ve partnered with Joseph J. Canfora, founder and CEO of Merit Management Group, which has helped launch gambling parlors across the nation. Canfora and his wife, Teresa, have a 7.3 percent share in PHL through an entity called J2RP Capital LLC.

Officers of PHL include directors Mark Sturbens, John Burke, Craig Sullivan and Bennett Lomax, as well as CFO John G. Costello.

Source: Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board

Click here for complete coverage of the bid for a gaming license in downtown Philadelphia.