Curtains went up on act two of our ongoing casino drama yesterday, and it looks like developer Bart Blatstein has assumed the role of the protagonist. Plans unveiled yesterday call for transforming the old Inquirer building at 400 North Broad into a sprawling, $700 million entertainment complex dubbed the Provence. It will house a casino, hotel, several restaurants, a jazz club and retail all in a make-believe French streetscape setting, according to the Daily News. Hard Rock International is reportedly signed on to manage the property, and City Council President Darrell L. Clarke is touting the proposed project as a source of jobs. But will it go over with a city that’s already underwhelmed, if not outright disappointed with how SugarHouse turned out?
It’s hard to tell. Casino-Free Philadelphia, neighbors and school advocates are lining up to express concerns over the riff-raff and criminal element that casinos seem to always attract. Blatstein has until November 15 to apply for a casino license. The whole plan appears to hang in balance over the Pennsylvania Gaming Control’s decision.