State Reps. Michael O'Brien and John Taylor and Philadelphia First District Councilman Mark Squilla said the state gaming board should grant the remaining Philadelphia license to Market8, which would build a casino and other amenities at the corner of 8th and Market streets.
A press release issued Tuesday by Market8 says the three made their decisions after the five casino candidates presented their plans to and took questions from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board at last month's suitability hearings.
“Weighing all of the presentations, it’s clear the economic opportunities that MARKET8 will bring outweigh those of the other applicants,” said O’Brien, D-Philadelphia, in the press release. “With its Center City location, MARKET8 will be best positioned to draw the most new gaming patrons and spur economic growth on and around East Market Street. Also critically important, MARKET8 will drive more business to the Pennsylvania Convention Center – generating additional major conventions and therefore more revenue for the State and the City.”
O'Brien also referenced MARKET8's rewards program, which would allow gamblers to spend their rewards points at local businesses, and it's committment to donate a minimum of $2 milion per year to the community
Taylor, R-Philadelphia, praised MARKET8 lead developer and investor Ken Goldenberg for his vision and innovative approach to leveraging a world-class casino development to both connect the city’s most treasured cultural and tourism assets and economically transform Market East.
“As a member of the general assembly for more than 28 years, it has always been my priority to create new opportunities to grow the economy,” Taylor said. “Ken Goldenberg has a reputation for delivering for the community and I give him and his investment group credit for looking beyond their project to identify ways to extend economic benefits outside MARKET8. The project’s commitment to local hiring will bring much-needed jobs to our communities.”
Squilla said MARKET8 could help the city finally revitalize East Market Street.
“When I was elected to office, one of my top priorities became the revitalization of Market East as a strong commercial district and a destination location for the City,” Squilla said in the release. “We have an unprecedented opportunity with this remaining casino license to transform East Market Street in a way that no other development can.”
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.