Council Approves Glitzy South Philly Casino

Morning headlines: It's expected to create 5,000 jobs.

The most recent artist's rendering of the Live! Casino at Packer Ave. and Darien Streets in South Philadelphia. (Photo courtesy of Stadium Casino LLC)

The most recent artist’s rendering of the Live! Casino at Packer Ave. and Darien Streets in South Philadelphia. (Photo courtesy of Stadium Casino LLC)

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here is what you need to know today.

City Council has unanimously approved zoning for a glitzy $450 million casino complex in South Philly.

The “Live” casino and hotel — featuring 2,000 slot machines, 125 table games and 200 rooms — will be built near the Sports Complex, giving folks a reason to head south even when the stadiums are dark. Other projected numbers, all of them big: The project’s developers say the complex will employ 3,000 construction workers, 2,000 permanent employees, draw 8.5 million visitors a year, generate $2 billion a year in economic stimulus, and pay out $100 million a year in state taxes. And the workers? They’ll receive a minimum wage of no less than $12 an hour, thanks to city negotiations. “The jobs created must pay living wages and the workers at all stages of the process,” Councilman Kenyatta Johnson said. There’s still one big step left in the process, however, before construction can begin: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court must rule on the challenges to the casino’s state-issued gaming license. [6ABC]

Council also said goodbye Thursday to outgoing Mayor Nutter. Everybody played nice. 

You’d think, for old times sake, they’d invite some union guys in to heckle the mayor while he spoke. Instead, there was actually a dash of sentimentality about the proceedings, 6ABC reports. “The many ups and the many downs, the tragedies and the triumphs that we’ve seen together over the last eight years. It’s just been an incredible experience, I think for all of us, but certainly for me to be mayor of my hometown,” Nutter said. Retiring Councilwoman Marian Tasco also offered her goodbye with some advice for colleagues, the Daily News says: “I say to all of the Council members, don’t forget how you got here, don’t get too big-headed. Stay with your people,” she said.

A victim of last year’s Center City gay-bashing says of Kathryn Knott: “I was appalled a woman would act like this.”

Philly Mag’s Dan McQuade reports: Zachary Hesse testified the incident was “terrifying.” He said the group shouted slurs constantly during the melee; he said it was said “more than 10, more than 20 times.” About six people grabbed his arms, he said in court, and eventually Kathryn Knott threw a punch or slap — he closed his eyes when he saw her open hand coming toward his face — at him while shouting the slur. He identified Knott has his assailant in court. “I was appalled a woman would act like this,” Hesse testified. Hesse was left with a black eye and other injuries, but did not seek treatment. His boyfriend, Andrew Haught suffered two black eyes and a broken jaw; it was wired shut. Knott’s trial on aggravated assault, conspiracy and related charges continues today.

Henry Rowan, the South Jersey industrialist and Rowan University namesake, has died at age 92.

He donated $100 million to Glassboro State College in 1992, which renamed itself in his honor. Rowan “had a massive impact for this region,” Rowan University President Dr. Ali Houshmand said Thursday afternoon. “He had a global impact, he has a massive legacy, and we are so grateful for his gift and the generations of students who will benefit in the future.” Rowan made his fortune as founder and chairman of Inductotherm Group, a manufacturer of melting, thermal processing and production systems for the metals and materials industry. But it’s his charitable giving that may define his legacy. Gov. Chris Christie: “Mr. Rowan was one of the great philanthropists of our time.” [Rowan University |]

It’s not beginning to look like Christmas — in fact, it’s going to be an unseasonably warm weekend. 

Temperatures are forecast to hit the upper 60s over the weekend, and NBC10 meteorologist Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz says there’s no reason to expect a change in the pattern anytime soon: Both December and January should be much warmer than usual this year, he says at his blog. “EVERY part of the country east of the Rockies is WAAAY warmer than normal,” he writes, and later adds. “It’s an awfully frustrating pattern for cold and snow lovers. But, if it makes them feel any better, they’re saving a lot on heating bills.”

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