The Second Philly Casino License Goes to Live!

Rendering of Live! Hotel and Casino via PlanPhilly

Rendering of Live! Hotel and Casino via PlanPhilly

The PA Gaming Control Board has just publicly voted to award the second Philadelphia casino license to Stadium Casino LLC, operating as Live! This is just the initial phase of the licensing. The decision is subject to appeal, and therefore the Board will not comment on the decision. The meeting has just ended, but before it did, PA Gaming Control Board Chairman Bill Ryan said that the denials of the other three petitioners had nothing to do with lack of character or integrity in the other contenders. Rather, the decision was based on the following factors: the protection of the public; public interest and the social effects of gambling; the integrity and control of the slots business; tax revenues and tourism in Pennsylvania.

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Watch Casino License Hearing Live

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

The official agenda:



Ex-Officio Members




Call to Order: William H. Ryan, Jr., Chairman

Pledge of Allegiance: William H. Ryan, Jr., Chairman

Announcements and Chairman’s Remarks: William H. Ryan, Jr. Chairman

Consideration of Matters related to the Category 2 License Proceedings for the City of Philadelphia Adjournment: William H. Ryan, Jr., Chairman


An Open Letter to Whoopi Goldberg


Dear Whoopi,

On Monday, you expressed confusion on The View about Cosby accuser Barbara Bowman‘s actions after her alleged rape at age 17: “Perhaps the police might have believed it. Or the hospital. Don’t you do a kit when you say someone has raped you?”

You weren’t strident, you weren’t defensive, you seemed — oddly enough — sincere. “I’m going to reserve my judgment because I have a lot of questions,” you said. I believe that you’re genuinely confused.

It’s hard to wrap our minds around the fact that a person can do both horrible things and worthwhile things and occupy the same body. I remember writing a college admission essay about the fact that Charles Dickens, my favorite author, was a terrible husband. Could I separate art from artist? Should I?

Obviously, this is harder. The investment in believing Bill Cosby to be the genial standup comedian, philanthropist, father figure … it’s profound. For that man to also potentially be a sexual predator? All of us slide in and out of selfishness and generosity, kindness and crank. But this is another level. It’s Roman Polanski. Or Oscar Pistorius. Or Lance Armstrong. We are large, wrote Whitman. We contain multitudes. Not all of the multitudes are pretty.

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Ugly Allegations Enter Philly Casino License Picture

fox 29 still

A still from the Fox29 report.

Someone affiliated with one of the four casino bidders (not Live!) sent me the below video this morning, shortly after I saw the same story on The allegation is this: The expected announcement that Live! will win the bid for Philly’s second casino license today may be, in part, due to a romantic relationship between a lead attorney for the Live! project and a lawyer who worked, until earlier this year, for the PA Gaming Board. PDQ’s Chris Sawyer calls it a “sexual conspiracy theory”; Fox29 takes it more seriously, and speaks with the interim head of the Committee of Seventy about it:

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SOLD: NBC Universal CEO’s Rittenhouse Home


Photo: Drew Callaghan

Steve Burke, the “still handsome” former COO of Comcast and now CEO of NBC Universal, has finally sold his exquisite home at 1817 Delancey Street — or it’s under contract, at any rate.

Burke bought the six-bedroom townhome with elevator and two-car garage in 2010 for $5.85 million from Acorn Development, which had purchased the home in 2004 for $2.45 million, renovated it, and listed it for $6.6 million. When he decided to put the home up for sale in 2013, the first asking price was $5.6 million, but that was reduced to $5.2 million and then $4.75 million.

Gallery below.

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Will South Philly Beat Out Center City for a Casino?

Rendering of Live! Hotel and Casino via PlanPhilly

Rendering of Live! Hotel and Casino via PlanPhilly

Tomorrow the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board holds a special meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center at which it publicly votes on who gets Philadelphia’s second casino license. There are four bidders — two in Center City (The Provence at 400 North Broad Street and Market8 at 8th and Market) and two in South Philly (Casino Revolution at 3333 South Front Street and Live! Hotel and Casino at 900 Packer Ave.) — waiting for word.

Because the whole thing has taken so damn long, we asked Doug Harbach, PGCB spokesperson, what would happen if the vote is deadlocked tomorrow. You know, just in case. Ain’t gonna happen.

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Newtown Athletic Club Is the Navy Yard of the Fitness Scene


According to our sister site Be Well Philly, Newtown Athletic Club has just-announced a $10 million expansion and renovation — the second massive expansion in as many years. This will bring the club’s acreage to 22. Compare that to the 3 acres of land it started out with in 1978, and you have the real estate embodiment of the way American attitudes toward health and wellness have changed. And how this region has changed as well.

The expansion project has a title, like a TV show. It’s called “Breaking Boundaries” and has a 12-point plan, most of which doesn’t involve real estate or land development per se; it’s more interested in the development of one’s muscles. But there are two points that deal with the land in a very specific way:

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Mind Your Ps and Ns and Bs

PNB buildingDan McQuade has the scoop on the latest plans to take down the PNB Building’s enormous letters from the skyline. I was watching last time, for hours, because I thought it would feel historical. When the endeavor was scrapped in the middle it felt very Philadelphia, if nothing else. I did manage to get a few good photos (one of which is to the left). I also spent at least three hours on Instagram that I’ll never get back. For every cool PNB-related photo, I saw three breakfasts then lunches that I wasn’t getting to eat.

Others with more PNB fortitude than I have actually followed the letters to where they were placed onto the street. (Their verdict? They look bigger up close.)

It’s a shame the letters weren’t all removed at the same time because it would have afforded nostalgic journalists like myself a wonderful period of writerly self-indulgence in which to lament the changing of the architectural guards. Alas for you, dear readers. Instead, I have this to say: Them letters is comin’ down. Watch if you want to. I’ll be home reading a book.

PNB Sign Coming Down Sunday [Philly Mag]

Is Designing a Phone More Complex Than Designing a Building?

Morimoto PA Dining Room

Morimoto’s dining room designed by Karim Rashid

The iconoclastic designer Karim Rashid—best known ’round these part as the interior designer of Philadelphia’s Morimoto—was interviewed in the New York Times’ commercial real estate section recently and offered some rather harsh words for those with architecture degrees. Rashid, who does not have an architecture degree but is nonetheless designing buildings, works with a team of architects and engineers to get around the fact that he’s not licensed. But even if it were a problem, he doesn’t sound inclined to go back to school for architecture anytime soon:

I have to say, and I don’t mean this in a pejorative way, that architecture, in a sense the more pedestrian architecture, is generally quite simple compared to industrial design. In other words, it’s far more sophisticated to do something like a mobile phone than it is to do an average building.

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$2.8M Rittenhouse Penthouse With Wraparound Terrace

The view from the 24th floor. Photo via Allan Domb Real Estate.

The view from the 24th floor. Photo via Allan Domb Real Estate.

There aren’t too many buildings on the Square that offer a full floor of living space, which is only part of what makes this unit at 220 West Rittenhouse unique. Another unusual feature is its terrace, which is on all four sides of the property. Not only that, but the private greenhouse/sunroom offers the same view and light exposure without the chill.

Appealing architectural details include marble floors, crown moldings, herringbone hardwood floors, and faux painted ceilings in several rooms, while the space itself is sweeping. For the clotheshorse homebuyer, there are closets aplenty, including a number of wall closets along the main corridor and two custom fit-out walk-in closets—one of them “the size of another bedroom.”

Gallery below.

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