Big Plans for North Broad Street

A coalition of developers, nonprofit organizations and citizen groups have big plans for a section of North Broad Street in Philadelphia.

It includes the potential home for a second city casino.

North Broad would be called Avenue North Renaissance under the new plan that City Council President Darrell Clarke said aims to make the area more friendly to development.

"Probably in about two weeks, we will have the start of the North Broad Street streetscape, a $15 million development funded by the city and the state that will be the official kickoff of the development on North Broad," Clarke said Wednesday during a news conference.

Developer Bart Blatstein, who said he has already invested millions in North Broad Street projects, is trying to open a casino in the former Philadelphia Inquirer building.

"We have spent, my company -- Tower Investments -- over $200 million thus far on this street, and it's just the beginning of the greatness this street can achieve," Blatstein said, "Of course, I'm hoping, fingers crossed, to receive the casino license for our next project, The Provence."

Even if the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board rejects Blatstein's casino license application, Clarke said it will not stop creation of a business improvement district and other investments in the corridor.

The goal is to transform the area, said Ken Scott of Beech Companies.

"The coalition includes nonprofit organizations, religious institutions that are stakeholders here on North Broad, the labor unions, private development and, obviously, for-profit developers and businesses," Scott said. "The idea is that everyone will have a seat at the table, everyone will be communicating, and everyone will be working together for an improved, safe, clean development on North Broad Street."

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