Philadelphia Casino Gets Court Go-Ahead

Philadelphia — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the city of Philadelphia must award a zoning permit and other approvals that Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia has needed to push forward in its development along the Delaware River.

In its decision, the high court ruled that the City Council deliberately attempted to delay the construction of both the Foxwoods casino and the SugarHouse casino, another slots parlor planned for the waterfront location.

SugarHouse received a similar ruling from the court in December.

According to the ruling, the Foxwoods project is “declared to be fully approved and shall require not further approval as if City Council for the City of Philadelphia had approved the same,” according to the ruling.

The project's development plan was approved by the city's planning commission in August last year and had since been at a standstill.

Jim Dougherty, general manager of the Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia project, said Thursday that this ruling allows work to finally move forward.

“We're ecstatic about the court ruling in our favor,” Dougherty said. “This clears a major hurdle for us.”

Dougherty said the project now needs to obtain some permits from the state, particularly from the Department of Environmental Protection, but does not expect any major delays, as that process has been ongoing.

Once the project breaks ground, Dougherty said, the building cycle will last for about 22 months.

The project will cost nearly $1 billion. The 3.7-million-square-foot waterfront project is planned for a 16.5-acre parcel in South Philadelphia. The project will be constructed in three phases and includes 5,000 slot machines, a 500-room hotel, a 21,000-square-foot spa, restaurants, retail shops and entertainment space.

Dougherty said he is eager to get the process going and start creating jobs and bringing in revenues that have been promised to the city.

“We're ready to move forward,” he said.

h.allen@theday.com
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