Jobs! Jobs! Jobs?


Bart Blatstein’s “Provence”

The Inquirer’s Jennifer Lin is some kind of a quote magnet.

Here’s what found its way into her reporter’s notebook yesterday, during the announcement of Bart Blatstein’s proposed Provence casino resort on North Broad Street, which would be the city’s second (that license, once granted to Foxwoods for a site on South Delaware Avenue is now up for grabs). Read Lin’s report on the proposed project HERE.

City Council President Darrell Clark: “Jobs, jobs, jobs. This is what it’s all about. [A second casino] is the most significant economic opportunity for the city of Philadelphia.”

Bart Blatstein: “I could build four of these projects with the money that is being offered to me.”

Where to begin, really?

Well, let’s start with Bart, who is certain that his proposal for a journey to France-themed casino resort will win the city’s second license. This may be the usual Blatstein bluster, but the statement strikes me for a different reason, and I’m not sure it’s all bad: the city finds itself attracting stupid money.

Yes, it’s for a stupid thing–I am not arguing on the merits of casinos or this project–but hot cash is a sign of a place in play. And moreover, all cities build stupid things.

That doesn’t mean, of course, those stupid things should be at the center of the city’s economic development strategy. I suspect Darrell Clarke didn’t really mean what he said yesterday–he was probably a little light-headed from the lavender scented air of Provence–but if the second casino is really any more than a small part of the city’s larger economic strategy then we really are being taken for a ride.

About the author

Hidden City co-editor Nathaniel Popkin’s latest book is the novel Lion and Leopard (The Head and The Hand Press). He is also the author of Song of the City (Four Walls Eight Windows/Basic Books) and The Possible City (Camino Books). He is senior writer and script editor of the Emmy-winning documentary series “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment” and the fiction review editor of Cleaver Magazine. His essays and book reviews appear in the Wall Street Journal, Public Books, The Kenyon Review, The Millions, and Fanzine.

1 Comment

  1. It’s also about the tax revenue. Don’t forget that the Rendell administration’s long-range fiscal projections relied on tax revenues flowing in from two casinos operating in the city – and that Act 71, the original state casino legislation, began funneling that revenue to the city before even the first casino opened. The Commonwealth needs to recoup its advance somehow, and that 55% state tax on casino revenues (the stiffest in the United States, which is why Pennsylvania ranks second only to Nevada in terms of state revenues from gaming) is the way. City electeds fought to retain that second casino license when the GOP solons in Harrisburg threatened to strip it for that reason as well.

    (Source for some of this analysis: off-the-record conversations with attendees at last night’s bash.)


  1. A Little South France On North Broad | Hidden City Philadelphia
Recent Posts
Debunking Open Streets Naysayers

Debunking Open Streets Naysayers

October 5, 2015  |  Morning Blend

What a Drexel professor gets wrong on Open Streets predictions, behind the Broad Street Line’s success last weekend, correcting the Kensington narrative one block at a time, and revolutionary Germantown on display > more

In Thomas Paine Plaza, A Sampling Of Mass Incarceration

In Thomas Paine Plaza, A Sampling Of Mass Incarceration

October 2, 2015  |  Morning Blend

A look at Sam Durant’s Open Source piece across from City Hall, ribbons and fishing lines cast at Pier 68, and Hite’s annual school reshuffling proposals > more

Philly's Flag Obsession, In Two Parts

Philly’s Flag Obsession, In Two Parts

October 2, 2015  |  Vantage

The 1100 block of Rodman Street's 14 year flag project has a strange prequel in the work of another Rodman, the son of John Wanamaker > more

Co-Living In South Kensington

Co-Living In South Kensington

October 1, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Indy Hall co-founder working on K’House, sign Open Streets PHL petition, birdwatching group to gaze Philadelphia’s skies, and mansions aplenty for Old City > more

Dreaming For More (P)open Center City

Dreaming For More (P)open Center City

September 30, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Engineer considers the impact and possibilities of this weekend’s open streets, Goldenberg selected for Logan Triangle redo, Rendell says city felt like “police state” over the weekend, a new homeless shelter, and Strawberry Mansion gets large mural > more

Decked Out On Pier 68

Decked Out On Pier 68

September 30, 2015  |  News

Pier 68 rises from its watery grave with sharp landscaping and smart green space. Restoration work is complete and the fishing pier and tidal park officially opens on Thursday, October 8th. Hidden City co-editor Michael Bixler has this preview > more