Thursday, October 25, 2012

A New North Broad

Thanks to Fishtown's resident do-goodery, a dynamic entertainment complex was dumbed down to trashy slot barn. Well we've got a second chance, and this time backed by a developer with a proven record of spinning crap into gold. 

Bart Blatstein owns the State Office Building and the Inquirer Building on North Broad, and sees it as the prime spot for a massive venue, a private venture that would rival if not surpass the nearby Pennsylvania Convention Center. That's right, a casino can and should be much more than a casino.

Knee jerk NIMBYism is already calling for the head of anyone supporting this. Why? "We don't need another casino!" They're absolutely right. We don't. These chronic complainers have pointed out that we already have SugarHouse and several casinos in the suburbs. Their point is entirely valid. Our existing casinos struggle, what's the point of building another? 

Here's the point: convention space, theaters, night clubs, restaurants, hotels, and a boatload of other amenities that come with successful casinos. These underhanded dicks have conveniently left all of that out, and here's how they kill all of those resources: 

Convince everyone that Mr. Burns will be sitting in the clock tower skinning puppies while thousands of expectant mother's cash in their unborn child's college funds below. "Please, won't somebody think of the children?!" 

The very reason Philadelphia allowed table games was to entice investors into building something more than a slot barn. SugarHouse tried to offer that, but a group of (vaguely) neighboring ass holes forced the lowest common denominator, then blamed it on the developer! 

Let's not NIMBY this plan down to a crappy little slot barn, or worse, another parcel of vacant buildings. 


  1. Don't give credit to the Fishtown civvies for the shitbarn of a casino on Del Av. The owners wanted a cheap pile of crap from the get-go but had to sell it as a grand venue to get people on board. Everyone knew as soon as they started talking about "Phases" contingent on the economy that they were not going to progress beyond the cheap hooker stage.

  2. I love development in almost all forms, but I plan to NIMBY this proposal into nonexistence. I just hate everything single thing about it.

    1. It is phenomenally, transcendentally ugly. Bart's vision for a historic city in the sky is pure Disneyland and has no place in this city, with our proud architectural heritage.
    2. Philly really doesn't need another casino, anywhere.
    3. North Broad is the last place a casino like should belongs. It is building a reputation as an uber-trendy arts district, home to the best loft buildings in the city. The infill it needs to create an ever stronger sense of place and to increase density is primarily residential (along with a supporting cast of cafes, restaurants, maybe shops some day). Bart's casino would put an immediate halt to that development and would probably start reversing the good change that's happened in the last decade.
    4. While I think in Bart's vision the casino would act as a catalyst for the area, making it desirable to national retailers--how nice to imagine large shopping towers adjacent to the casino, with round-the-clock street life--what reason is there to think this could actually happen in Philly? It certainly didn't happen in New Orleans. Their casino, while plenty used, has exactly the scene another Philly casino would--a little island of drunkenness, unhappiness, sleaze.

    The Piazza is flawed, but is still commendable as a bold attempt at revitalization and an interesting architectural statement. But I think Bart has lost it on this one. Please please please let this not happen.