From Strawbridges to Slots Parlor

The plans to build a Foxwoods casino in The Gallery at 8th and Market Streets was praised as a great step toward redevelopment Wednesday.  But protesters, mainly from nearby Chinatown, tell a different story.

"The end result may not be satisfactory to everyone. But it is the best option, I believe, that we have on the table today," City Councilman Frank DiCicco told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Legislation to turn the former Strawbridge & Clothier department store into a “commercial entertainment district” will be introduced Thursday by DiCicco, which is one step closer to building the casino in Center City, according to the paper.

Foxwoods plans to build the casino on the second and third floors.  The first floor would house restaurants and retail, the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust told the Inquirer.

The casino will be located outside of residential neighborhoods such as Chinatown, and is a more favorable option than South Philadelphia, where the casino was to previously be built, DiCicco said.

But, DiCicco is accused of allowing Foxwoods to pick their location, according to Ellen Somekawa of Asian Americans United.  DiCicco fired back saying the state approves casino locations.

The city and Foxwoods also have not been providing the community with enough information, Somekawa added.

Zoning legislation will be considered Tuesday by the City Planning Commission and a public hearing will be held May 7.

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