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Big Plans For New Casino In Fishtown Neighborhood

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By Elizabeth Hur

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Casino mogul Steve Wynn once again has big plans for Philadelphia.

Wynn wants to build a new casino and luxury hotel on the banks of the Delaware River.

Touting his successes in Vegas and Macau, he said in a statement which read in part:

“Our resort seeks to offer the nicest hotel in Philadelphia and on the East Coast for that matter. Our proposed resort begins with a hotel, retail esplanade, restaurants and entertainment.”

Back in March of 2010, Wynn told Eyewitness News, “I think it could be quite wonderful and I think it could be the beginning of more work down there.”

That was before he backed out of the failed Foxwoods project on Columbus Blvd in South Philadelphia. This time, Wynn is reportedly eying a spot on the Delaware River – not far from the Sugarhouse Casino in Fishtown.

He is one of three developers, so far, competing for that second casino license.

“The basic concern is they are predatory. They rely on gambling addiction for profit, that’s their business,” Dan Hajdo said.

Hajdo with Casino-Free Philadelphia told us via SKYPE, no matter where or who is behind the proposal, his group is prepared to fight it.

Last month, local developer Bart Blatstein unveiled his grandiose plan to transform the former Inquirer building in the city’s Spring Garden section.

Hajdo responded, “It doesn’t matter where this is planned. People don’t want it.”

To address this latest news, Casino-Free Philadelphia has organized a meeting. It is open to the public and will be held next Monday on November 12th at 6:30pm at the Arch Street United Methodist Church.

The following is the full statement from Steve Wynn:

Statement from Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, regarding the company’s announcement to apply for a casino license in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

“We are excited about Philadelphia and the opportunity afforded by our piece of property on the banks of the Delaware River. It allows for a luxury hotel complex and the introduction of the Wynn brand to Philadelphia. Our proposed resort begins with a hotel, retail esplanade, restaurants and entertainment, and can grow as the market progresses and we build a clientele. We are attracted by the opportunity to have nice exposure to the Delaware River and to create a lovely river walk. The real estate offers a palette that allows us to grow our destination resort in a fashion consistent with our brand and our company’s history.

Our resort seeks to offer the nicest hotel in Philadelphia and on the East Coast, for that matter. It will be an all-suite facility with a typical hotel room of almost 900 square feet. The resort will be unique to the region and we believe it will add to the invitation of the City of Philadelphia, where I was privileged to attend the University of Pennsylvania for four years.

All of the delicious amenities of our resort are made possible by the fact that there are casino facilities included within it. That is a distinguishing characteristic of our company: we think of ourselves as a resort company first and foremost. The resort will be a place to eat and visit, and a place to impress visitors from out of town, all made possible by the existence of the casino.

Our assignment is to build a facility that brings people from outside the city into the city. We hope to create a resort of a caliber not currently in existence on the eastern seaboard.

Our resort will only be exceptional because of the thousands of employees that we will hire and train, and who will become our family. The sense of pride that the hotel will give them will, in turn, be passed on to our guests each day. Our company has received more awards and various forms of recognition over the years than any other gaming company in history. This recognition is due solely to the lovely, caring personalities of our thousands of employees in Las Vegas and Macau. We will strive to produce that same wonderful result in Philadelphia.”

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