The fact is, North Broad Street is in the midst of a tremendous turnaround and is poised to take the next step with the (hopefully) upcoming renovation of the Divine Lorraine. Removing the casino aspect, Tower’s proposal would clearly be a tremendous positive for North Broad. With a casino, there’s definitely a risk that the momentum could be slowed or stopped completely. By our estimation, the casino will have to be done just right for the project to have a neutral or net positive effect on the area, and any execution flaws could prove disastrous.
It’s encouraging that the developer behind the project is both extremely knowledgeable regarding Philadelphia real estate and has experience doing large-scale mixed-use projects. But while the Piazza is one of the most impressive and important projects we’ve seen in this town in a decade, most would agree that there are several imperfections there, notably on the commercial side. Hopefully, Tower has learned those lessons and comes to this new project equipped with a new approach.
Whether any of this ultimately happens will hinge on whether the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board awards the second Philadelphia license to Tower and Hard Rock International. Plans are due by the middle of next month, and there will almost certainly be several other applications. Will this be the one to win out? Should it be the one to win out? Only time will tell.
(Click through for the most complete set of renderings so far: Will a New Casino Stifle North Broad Street Just as It’s Taking Off? | NakedPhilly)
[Edit: Looking over these plans a little more is making my crack about Eraserhood transformed into Disneyhood feel much less far-fetched than it seemed just two days ago. That’s not the kind of prognostication I am particularly proud of…]