Developer: Put Philly casino by newspaper building

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A powerful developer wants to build a casino and entertainment complex near the headquarters for Philadelphia's two largest newspapers, an iconic building that he now owns.

Bart Blatstein owns the building that houses The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News on the northern edge of the city's downtown. He said Thursday he wants to build a casino, entertainment and retail complex on the property, turning the newspaper building into a hotel. That would be contingent on his getting one of the two casino licenses current slated for Philadelphia.

SugarHouse Casino opened in September 2010, but the other license remains in limbo after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board revoked a license that had been issued to Foxwoods for a project in south Philadelphia.

"This is going to happen," Blatstein told the Daily News. "I stake my reputation of 35 years on it. This is going to be the place to be. When we go into an area, others will follow and money will flow."

A message left with Blatstein by The Associated Press was not immediately returned.

Earlier this month, gaming board chairman William Ryan Jr. said state lawmakers will have to decide what to do with the long-stalled license that had been awarded to Foxwoods. The state Supreme Court recently rejected an appeal of a lower court decision to uphold the December 2010 revocation, opening the way for rebidding the license.

Pennsylvania has 11 casinos across the state, with the most recent one having opened March 31 in the Philadelphia suburb of Valley Forge. The state recently passed New Jersey to become the nation's second-largest gambling market behind Las Vegas.

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