Developer Bart Blatstein said Monday that he is withdrawing his appeal of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's decision in November to license a rival casino application in South Philadelphia, saying an appeal could take too long and there has been "significant" interest in his North Broad Street property.
The gaming board rejected Blatstein's proposed Provence casino complex at Broad and Callowhill Streets, the former location of The Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, and two other casino proposals, Market8 and Casino Revolution.
The winning proposal was Live! Hotel & Casino in South Philadelphia, a joint venture by Cordish Cos. of Baltimore and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, which also owns Parx Casino in Bensalem.
Blatstein, who has been credited with a large role in revitalizing Northern Liberties, claimed that the ownership overlap between Parx and Live! violated state rules and was the basis last month for his challenging the gaming board's decision at the state Supreme Court.
But Frank Keel, spokesman for Blatstein's Tower Entertainment L.L.C., said Monday that the appeal would take time and even if successful, the process of re-awarding the city's casino license would take even more time.
"There is significant interest from other entities in that property," Keel said of 400 N. Broad St. Keel said he was "not at liberty to divulge" who was interested, though he added that it was recent. The property, he said, is a linchpin in the development of North Broad Street.
The principals behind Market8 and Casino Revolution also appealed the gaming board's decision to the Supreme Court.
Market8 is backed by developer Ken Goldenberg. The Market8 group raised the issue in an appeal of the ownership overlap and accused the gaming board of "capricious disregard to the evidence" submitted to it as part of the casino-licensing process.
Casino Revolution is backed by Joseph Procacci, a produce wholesaler and developer. His spokesman said previously that the Procacci group believed that the Cordish-Greenwood joint venture was "ineligible to participate in the bid process" because it would give Greenwood control of two casino properties in the region.
Blatstein proposed a casino with 3,300 slot machines and 150 table games at Broad and Callowhill, promising "more new jobs and more new economic development than any private development in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania history."
In his statement, Blatstein concluded, "It's unfortunate that the gaming board passed on a transformational, game-changing development in the Provence and instead settled for another dumbed-down, slots-in-a-box project in a landlocked, congested location with zero potential for economic development spin-off."