Live! Casino and Hotel Philadelphia Finds Its Contractor

The Live! Casino in Philadelphia’s Stadium Park area took an important step forward by hiring Gilbane as its general contractor.

The long-delayed Live! Casino and Hotel Philadelphia is now one step closer to becoming a reality. The property, an affiliate of the Maryland-based Cordish Companies, announced Gilbane Building Co. as the general contractor for the planned $700 million project.  The target opening date is late 2020.

The Gilbane team, a global, family-owned company, brings 145-plus years of experience to the project.

Joe Weinberg, the managing partner of the Cordish Companies, spoke about the decision to go with Gilbane in a press release:

“Gilbane was a natural fit for this project because the team is so experienced in the hospitality industry and they bring a real understanding of our vision. Their reputation for quality and dedication to excellence is a core value we both share and expect for a project of this magnitude. We look forward to getting started.”

The complex is located in the heart of the South Philadelphia Stadium District. It will be just footsteps away from where the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and Sixers play their home games. When finished, the 1.5 million-square-foot facility will “transform the area into the first integrated sports, entertainment and casino resort destination in the region.”

There is a pre-bid contractor information session on for Jan. 11. Xfinity Live!, the 4.4-acre entertainment district located within the sports complex that Cordish and Comcast-Spectacor own together, will host the event.

Stadium Casino project’s complicated history

Many may be wondering what is taking so long. Stadium Casino LLC won a Pennsylvania statewide bid for a casino license back in November 2014.  The licensing process came about after the proposed Philadelphia-based  Foxwoods Casino project failed to secure financing. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board ended up revoking its license.

The other players, including SugarHouse along with the three other applicants, decided to take the matter to court. The issue in question was tied to whether or not Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment owner Bob Manoukian’s stake in the Bensalem-based Parx prohibited him from owning more than one-third of another casino in the Keystone State.

The gambling expansion law passed in October 2017 made way for Stadium to secure a license. However, the project reached another crisis point when Greenwood decided to walk away back in October of 2018.

More about the Stadium Casino project

When completed, Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia will include 2,200 slots and electronic table games along with more than 150 live action table games. There will also be an upscale 200-plus room boutique hotel, nationally-recognized restaurants, and live entertainment venues.

In the short term, patrons will soon be able to place bets at the Greenwood-owned South Philadelphia Turf Club. The property is located across the street from the Live! Casino project. The retail sports betting operation will launch during the first quarter after Parx gets up and running. Parx plans to soft launch on Tuesday.

Live! in Maryland

Cordish is the company behind the other Live! Casino and Hotel located in Maryland. It’s located a little more than 100 miles south of Philadelphia. It features gaming, dining and entertainment options as well. The property has been open since June 2012.

Second Philadelphia Casino Gets Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Thumbs Up

A proposal to build a second casino in Philadelphia took a step towards reality last week, but the newest Pennsylvania casino still has a long way to go.

A proposal to build a second casino in Philadelphia, PA took a step towards becoming reality last week.

But while the company approved to build the Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia project in 2014 jumped through one legal hoop, a series of others is expected to confront it long before the City of Brotherly Love finds itself with two casinos.

The Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia project

Stadium Casino LLC’s original proposal to build the Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia near The South Philadelphia Sports Complex was approved by state regulators in November 2014. The Sports Complex is home to Philadelphia’s professional sports teams.

SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood opened in 2010 and remains the city’s only casino. There are 12 total casino properties in PA.

Both SugarHouse and Market East, a second company that bid for the casino project and lost, were among those initially opposing the project. They claimed investor Bob Manoukian’s interest in the project was in contravention of the state’s one and one-third rule. This rule states a majority owner in one casino can’t own more than one-third of another.

Manoukian currently owns approximately 85 percent of Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc., which owns and operates Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA, a half hour outside of Philadelphia.

The Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphia project was originally presented as a 50/50 partnership between Greenwood and gaming and hospitality developer The Cordish Companies.

Thumbs up from PA Gaming Control Board

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court asked the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to sort out the ownership issue before it issued a gaming license.

At a public hearing last month, Manoukian claimed to be transferring a 17 percent interest in the project into a trust for his three sons, leaving him with a little less than 29 percent of the proposed new casino.

As a result, the Gaming Board ruled unanimously last week that Manoukian’s interests in both Parx and the Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphia project fit within state limits.

Appeals pending

However, Market East could still appeal the decision in the courts.

Plus, Sugarhouse is said to be exploring its legal options after the Gaming Board denied it standing in the case. Market East has 30 days to appeal the ruling. In the meantime, the Gaming Board plans to ensure Manoukian sets up the trust as explained before issuing the project a gaming license.

The state would be able to collect on a $75 million licensing fee should it issue the project a gaming license this year.

A $600 million gaming and entertainment destination

If construction does go ahead, the $600 million Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphia project is expected to take over a year to complete. It will be a world-class hotel, gaming, dining, and entertainment destination in the heart of the Stadium District.

The casino will feature 2,000 slot machines and 125 table games.