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Sugar House Steps Back into the Spotlight

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Amidst all the news of the six bidders for the second Philly casino, you may have missed that the Sugar House is looking to expand. This may not seem like a big deal in comparison to the over-the-top visions of Philadelphia's casino future, but expansion plans via the Sugar House website indicate that the megabox is planning to double in size, making it an even-more-mega box.

The original casino license for the Sugarhouse permitted construction in two phases, with the centerpiece of the second phase being a ten-story parking garage. However, disputes with funding sources caused the Sugarhouse to revise its plans enough that they need approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board again. Highlights for the expansion, according to the plan on the SugarHouse website include:

· Expansion of gross sq ft from 106,000 to 250,000
· A seven story parking garage
· Space for four new restaurants
· An extra 250 feet of river walk
· Funding for a public bike trail

Though we're not sure why the 250 extra feet of river walk was even included as a feature of the expansion plan, it might be because it's the only "public amenity" involved. As you may recall, opposition to the SugarHouse was serious, splitting Fishtown into two civic associations and spawning Casino Free Philadelphia. However, opposition to the second casino hasn't been nearly as strong, and it will be interesting to see if opposition to the Sugar House expansion plans emerges.

· SugarHouse Expansion Plan [Philly.com]
· Sugar House Casino Submits a Revised Expansion Plan to PA Board [Philly.com]