Original investors need new funding source for the Foxwoods Casino project in South Philadelphia

Steve Wynn has agreed in principal to take over the delayed Foxwoods Casino project in South Philadelphia.

According to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Wynn Resorts, the casino mogul’s publicly traded company based in Las Vegas, has signed a non-binding agreement, outlining the terms and conditions for assuming control of the project from local investors and the Mashantucket Pequot tribe.

The original investors - called Philadelphia Entertainment and Development Partners - would still have a stake in the casino, but control would shift to the Wynn organization, sources said.

If a final deal is reached, it would salvage the stalled casino project on South Columbus Boulevard and bring a well-known international gaming brand to the city.

The deal comes at a critical time for the project as the original investors are at risk of losing their license and need to find a new partner who can bring both money and leadership to the deal. Originally, the Pequots, who own the giant Foxwoods casino resort in Connecticut, were going to develop, finance and manage the project. But the tribe is struggling with too much debt and a downturn in revenue at the Connecticut resort and cannot lead the project.

The Foxwoods partners have until March 3 to come up with a new design and financing. The project also has faced intense neighborhood and political opposition.

While the details of the agreement have not been made public, Wynn Resorts is expected to manage the casino and control more than 51 percent of the investment, sources told The Inquirer.

Under the original arrangement, local investors had 70 percent of the project, with the Pequots controlling the rest.

The local investors include the family charities of three Philadelphia investors: sports team owner Lewis Katz, Center City developer Ron Rubin and Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider.