Two of the projects, Bart Blatstein’s massive “Provence” and the more modest (but still plenty ambitious) Market8, are selling themselves as nothing less than Center City redevelopment engines — job-creating behemoths that will breathe new life into stubborn and difficult blocks.
Both aim to fill large underused Center City parcels that are undeniable blemishes on the urban landscape. Both proposals downplay the centrality of the casino operation (indeed, the slots and table games are on the second floor of each development, while the ground floors are reserved for restaurants, retail and lobbies). And both have grand architectural ambitions: The over-the-top French rooftop village of Provence, versus Market8’s glass-sheathed tower, to be designed by starchitect Enrique Norton’s Ten Architectos firm.
And the pitch men and women for both projects know just what language to use to tickle urbanists’ fancy. Their projects, they say, “fill the hole in the donut.” Market8 will have “a dialogue with the street, a dialogue with the city.” The Provence, meanwhile, will “respect and enhance Philadelphia’s urban fabric.”