The lavish launch party at Tendenza for Tower Investments' announcement of The Provence was attended by press, City Council members, real estate professionals, labor union folks, planning commission members and others enjoying the open bar. There was networking for an hour during which beleaguered servers traveled around with platters of mini lamb chops and pigs-in-blankets to court guests who ignored them.
Then everyone went into another room where two screens projected a video of renderings and people flocked around luminaries like state Rep. Dwight Evans and City Council President Darrell Clarke, who introduced the man of the moment, Bart Blatstein, the CEO of Tower Investments and the man whose vision this is. Clarke said he'd been told he wasn't supposed to come out and endorse the project—the city shouldn't show favoritism to one developer over another, after all—but then winked. As in, "wink, wink."
The four big things we learned from the evening:
1. The name is the Provence in honor of Philadelphia's special relationship with France (a relationship Philadelphians insist upon despite the fact that France is unaware of it).
2. The operator of the resort/casino will be Hard Rock International and CEO Jim Allen is very excited that Blatstein picked him after going on so many "dates" with other candidates.
3. When a CEO of a major international corporation (Allen) says to our city's movers and shakers that his wife is from the area, someone will whoop. Because this is Philadelphia.
4. The main point that we all need to understand: THIS IS NOT JUST A CASINO. IT IS AN ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX.
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