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Hopeful South Phila. Casino Developer Says He Can Get Going Quickly

(Joe Procacci says one of his tomato processing warehouses in South Philadelphia can be coverted quickly for use as a casino.  Credit: Steve Tawa)

(Joe Procacci says one of his tomato processing warehouses in South Philadelphia can be coverted quickly for use as a casino. Credit: Steve Tawa)

Steve Tawa Steve Tawa
Steve Tawa joined KYW Newsradio in 1990, and splits his time between...
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By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the bidders in the running for a second casino license in Philadelphia held an open house today in South Philadelphia.

The principals of PHL Local Gaming called it an “Early Open” tour, saying they have a head start on their five competitors because CEO and chairman Joe Procacci, whose national produce company in South Philadelphia provides a good chunk of the country’s fresh tomatoes, would use one of his warehouses — Plant 5 — to house the casino.

“It gives a vision of what could be done on an expedited basis,” Procacci said today, “so that the city and state could earn more than $50 million in revenue, sooner than any of our competitors.”

Lead architect Rick Gardner says the $428-million “Casino Revolution” project would transform the warehouse, on 25 acres at Front Street and Pattison Avenue, into an entertainment district that would include a 250-room hotel.

“It’s going to become, aesthetically, a landmark and a billboard, because of its relationship to the interstates,” Gardner believes.

“And we have the ability to expand out to the maximum 5,000 slots, if the market dictates that,” says Procacci executive vice president George Binck.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is expected to vote  sometime early next year on awarding a second casino license in Philadelphia.

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