Update: Early reports suggest that the Inky building would actually be a hotel. The casino would be adjacent to the Inky building as part of one sprawling entertainment complex.
The real estate mogul Bart Blatstein, best known for pretty much making Northern Liberties what it is today (for better or worse), is slated to start phase one of construction next week on the former 300,000 square foot State Office Building located at Broad and Spring Garden.
Tower Place, a roughly $120 million dollar project, will be comprised of 204 luxury apartments, a fitness center and a 24-hour concierge come December 2012. The second phase of construction will include an additional structure adjacent to Tower Place, with 18 floors and 200 residential units.
But news comes today that Blatstein may also be devising another drastic change for North Broad, one that will likely be met with stiff opposition from the surrounding neighborhood.
According to Inquirer reporter Jennifer Lin, Blatstein hopes to turn the Inky building, or at least part of it, into a casino. He acquired the struggling paper’s office building last year.
Philly Mag speculates that, since the state Supreme Court recently denied Fox Woods Casino’s attempt regain their gaming license, Blatstein could be seeking to scoop up the spare PA license.
Blatstein and city officials have been aiming to re-develop North Broad for quite some time now, an effort reflected in the ongoing efforts to finally rehab the Divine Lorraine Hotel. In a recent DN article, Blatstein stated, “I’m in love with North Broad, and I’m ready to bring it through a transformation back to the splendor it once had.”
Though the addition of a casino at North Broad would certainly bring in jobs and help to “revitalize” the neighborhood, the Inky building is in close proximity to both Roman Catholic High School as well as the School District of Philadelphia, which could present obstacles for any future gaming sites.
Written by Michelle Mass and Chris Lipczynski