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Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia
Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia|Cordish Gaming Group/Live! Casinos & Hotels
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Live! Casino Philadelphia takes a big step toward opening with ‘topping off’ ceremony at stadium district site

The built-from-scratch pleasure dome carries a price tag reportedly north of $700 million

Chuck Darrow

Chuck Darrow

Philadelphia’s planned second gambling den reached a milestone Thursday morning as Live! Casino & Hotel celebrated the topping off of its hotel tower.A host of executives from Maryland-based Cordish Companies were joined by politicians including Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney as the final beam was lifted onto the roof of what will be the facility’s 12-story, 200-room Hotel tower overlooking Citizen’s Bank Park in the city’s stadium district.The proceedings, which took place in a wall-less space that will be, when the complex opens in late 2020, the building’s ground floor, included a brief video presentation that showed a series of renderings of upscale-looking spaces including the hotel, casino, sports book and event center that one company official promised will be a keystone of the operation.

“The Live! brand is very entertainment-centered. That’s who we are,” said Rob Norton, president of the Cordish Gaming Group. “Everything we do has an entertainment focus and a style to that entertainment.

“I think the amenities set is going to be very different than any other casino around here, including the types of restaurants that will soon be announced. And then you put that right here in the heart of the entertainment district of Philadelphia, with all the stadiums and the different events that are going on here, I think it's going to be a real game-changer for the city of Philadelphia and for this general market.”

Norton, whose father, Steve, was part of the executive team that opened what was then Resorts International (now Resorts Casino Hotel) in Atlantic City 41 years ago, played it close to the vest when asked to describe specific strategies. Instead, he promised the casino will “announce different pieces of the actual puzzle as we go through this process.” However, he added the shows, dining options and nightlife “will be…of caliber that you'd expect with the Live! brand.”

Among those speaking at the invitation-only event was Joe Weinberg, who serves as CEO of Cordish Gaming Group and Cordish Global Gaming Cities Entertainment. Weinberg suggested the casino-hotel’s opening will bring new meaning to the phrase, “take me out to the ballgame,” noting that thanks to the property, a trip to see one of the city’s four major-league teams play will include such heretofore non-existent activities as casino-games gambling and fine dining (the South Philadelphia Race & Sports Book, run by Parx casino parent Greenwood Gaming, is already doing business directly across 10th Street from the casino site).

Cordish is no stranger to what Weinberg reminded those in attendance is the nation’s only neighborhood boasting the homes of four major sports franchises. In 2012, the company, in partnership with Comcast, opened the popular Xfinity Live! entertainment emporium on the site where the legendary Spectrum arena stood for more than 40 years.