Whitman Council has endorsed PHL Local Gaming's proposal to build Casino Revolution at Front Street and Pattison Avenue.
Mark Kapczynski, President of the Whitman Council, and his fellow Whitman Board members, said in a press statement that Whitman Council's vote "reflects the community's strong interest in union jobs and business opportunities PHL Local Gaming's casino would bring to Whitman and to the entire South Philadelphia community. 'It's also a sign, of the trust we have in PHL Local's South Philadelphia-based ownership group, headed by Joseph Procacci, who also serves as CEO of Procacci Brothers Sales Corporation, in our community.'" he said.
Here is the full text of the press announcement distributed Wednesday afternoon:
Philadelphia, PA, May 8, 2013 – PHL Local Gaming, LLC, one of six bidders for the available gaming license in the City of Philadelphia, and one of three bidders with a South Philadelphia site, today announced that it has been notified by the board of the Whitman Council that the organization, which represents a community comprised of about 26,000 South Philadelphia residents, has voted to endorse PHL Local Gaming's bid to establish a new casino gaming facility, to be called Casino Revolution, at Front Street and Pattison Avenue, about a mile away from the residential section of the Whitman area.
Previously, PHL has announced that it has initiated a planning process to establish a new Special Services District in its neighboring community, even prior to any final, license-related decision by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The District would provide services in an area that extends from Pattison to Snyder, and from 7th Street, to I-95, an area that encompasses much of the Whitman community. PHL has agreed that members of the Council will be invited to serve on the Special Services District's governing board.
In April, as an early example of how the casino operators would support the community, PHL Local Gaming contributed, and helped in planting, 12 four-foot-tall evergreen trees at the Burke Playground, at Second and Jackson Streets, in the Whitman community. PHL and the Whitman Council plan to work cooperatively on establishing the new Special Services District and in identifying a list of community services priorities in the neighborhood.
According to Mark Kapczynski, President of the Whitman Council, and his fellow Whitman Board members, the organization's vote reflects the community's strong interest in union jobs and business opportunities PHL Local Gaming's casino would bring to Whitman and to the entire South Philadelphia community. "It's also a sign," he added, "of the trust we have in PHL Local's South Philadelphia-based ownership group, headed by Joseph Procacci, who also serves as CEO of Procacci Brothers Sales Corporation, in our community."
"Joseph Procacci and his organization have been our neighbors for more than 60 years," Kapczynski continued. "They have employed residents of Whitman, over all of that time, and have demonstrated their commitment to our community. We wish PHL Local Gaming and Joe Procacci the best of luck with their casino bid, because it would be a win for our entire community."
Kapczynski is scheduled to provide supportive testimony for the PHL Local Gaming casino at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's public hearings, on May 9, at Lincoln Financial Field, in South Philadelphia.
Commenting on the Whitman Council decision, PHL Local Gaming CEO Joseph Procacci said," We are very committed to our Philadelphia-First vision for our proposed casino. As we've said, earlier, we will measure our success, not only by the vitality of our gaming-related activities, but also by how much in the way of economic benefits we can create for our neighbors and for Philadelphia-area residents. We look forward to working with the residents of Whitman, and with the Board members of Whitman Council, as we complete the bidding process."
If successful in its bid for the available casino management license in Philadelphia, PHL Local Gaming, LLC plans to open "Casino Revolution," a $428 million, four-star quality, "destination-caliber," 250-room hotel and gaming facility. The casino will offer 2400 slots, 105 table games, a steak house, a coffee/espresso bar, an Italian restaurant, a 300-seat buffet, a 156-seat cafe and a covered, 1600-car garage.
Given its unique location, as part of the 25-acre Procacci Brothers Sales complex, PHL Local Gaming has said it has the ability, if selected, to open its casino a full six months prior to any of the other six bidders, and to generate, in the process, 600 early jobs and $51.9 million in early city and state revenues.
Kellie Patrick Gates writes about planning, neighborhood development and the Central Delaware Waterfront. A journalist for more than two decades, she worked for daily newspapers in Central Pennsylvania, Upstate New York and South Florida before coming to Philadelphia in 2003 to write for the Inquirer. Her work has appeared on PlanPhilly since 2007, and she also writes Love, the Inquirer's weekly wedding column. A native of Elk County, Pa., Kellie lives with her husband, Gary, and their dog and two cats.
Follow her on Twitter @KelliePGates