Company is in negotiations to secure a 300,000-square-foot area in which to locate the casino
machines could soon be competing for tourist attention with the downtown
historic sites in Philadelphia,
which include the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the rooming house where
Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence.
Foxwoods Group, headed by the Mashantucket Pequot Indians of Connecticut,
recently announced that it was looking into building a casino in a downtown
mall called The Gallery at Market East. Foxwoods is in negotiations with the
mall’s owners to secure a 300,000-square-foot area in which to locate the
The location is better than an earlier waterfront site in
South Philadelphia Foxwoods had sought as it is already near existing shops,
restaurants and mass transit lines, the group said. And the historic area
already attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, said Foxwoods group
Chairman Michael Thomas.
Foxwoods gave up trying to build a casino on the Delaware River waterfront due to community opposition
that argued that building a casino with hotel, restaurants and shops would
create congestion for local residents. And similar opposition sprang up as soon
as the downtown casino proposal was made.
However, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell both welcomed the casino proposal and said they
would give it serious consideration. Nutter added that he wasn’t concerned
about the casino project’s proximity to the historic district, as there was
ample separation between the two areas and that the city would ensure no garish
signs or lighting would mar the area.
The National Park Service, which manages the
historic district’s attractions, has taken a neutral stance toward the proposal
but added that a casino would actually help bring more tourists to the
Foxwoods proposes casino near Philadelphia historic district
November 1, 2008