Standing before a giant red banner with the words, "Xfinity LIVE!," executives at Comcast-Spectacor and Cordish Cos. on Thursday unveiled a sports-themed entertainment and dining district at the site of the old Spectrum.
The first phase of the complex, at a cost of approximately $60 million, will feature about a dozen restaurants - including Chickie's and Pete's, Victory Brewing Co., Nick's Roast Beef and the Original Philadelphia Cheesesteak Co., and bars with stages for live bands. About 20,000 parking spaces will be available for patrons of Xfinity LIVE! at the stadium complex in South Philadelphia.
The developers intend for the complex to become a destination venue on its own, beyond the patrons that would gather before and after sports events.
"This is the first phase of a phenomenal development," said Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider, standing on a raised stage. "I can't wait for it to open in a little more than three months. We're confident it will be a tremendous success."
Xfinity LIVE! will open its doors April 5, to coincide with the NHL playoffs and also the start of the Phillies season, according to those involved in its construction.
Among its offerings: An Xfinity On Demand Theater, an outdoor viewing experience that will feature everything from games to family movies; the NBC Sports Arena, featuring a high-tech 32-foot diagonal screen; the NBC Sports Field, which will play host to outdoor activities and sports leagues, and something termed the NBC Sports Game Experience, driven by video games and taking place in the Broad Street Bullies Pub.
The Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. - a developer of similar dining and entertainment districts in other U.S. cities - entered into a joint partnership with Comcast-Spectacor to build the complex. Snider said financing for the project was 50-50 between the two, and that the Xfinity LIVE! brand was part of the agreement. Snider said no public subsidies were involved.
"We wanted to build on the vibrancy and potential of what this city represents and what these stadiums around us represent," said Reed Cordish, vice president of Cordish Cos.
Cordish said the development will feature about six clusters of bar/restaurants and activities. One of them is The Marketplace, that will host several of the first-phase restaurants.
The other dining options will include the Spectrum Grille, an upscale restaurant; Broad Street Bullies Pub, and PBR Bar & Grill, with a country-western theme. Victory Beer Hall will feature beer hall-style tables, a stage for live indoor entertainment, and a 2,000 square-foot patio with a fire pit.
Snider said Xfinity LIVE! had the potential to become a "fourth stadium experience," complementing neighbors Wells Fargo Center, Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field.
Xfinity LIVE! will be open 365 days a year, said Snider, and will cater not only to sports enthusiasts at the stadiums but employees at the Naval Yard and travelers along I-95.
Officials said additional development of the location will come in phases - an acknowledgment that the slow economy argues for testing the financial performance of the first establishments that open for business.
"The downturn in the economy impacted everything," Snider said. "That's why we decided instead of building it outright, to build it in phases."