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Philly Live! talking

Comcast-Spectacor trims the size of its latest entertainment project, eyes 2012 opening

By Joseph Myers
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 8 | Posted Jul. 1, 2010

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An artistic rendering of the originally proposed Philly Live! project included a plethora of options for residents to make visits to the sports complex more entertainment friendly. (Photo provided by The Cordish Co.)

If good things truly come to those who wait, entertainment enthusiasts in South Philadelphia will become supreme revelers in 2012.

It’s the targeted date Comcast-Spectacor and the Baltimore-based Cordish Co. hope to have the newly proposed phase one of the much-hyped Philly Live! entertainment district completed. Dating back to January ’08, developers had envisioned a 350,000-square-foot wonder — stretching from the Wachovia Center, 3601 S. Broad St., to where the now-shuttered Wachovia Spectrum sits — offering pre- and post-game options for sports fanatics, quality cuisine for gastronomes and standout wardrobe selections for clothing connoisseurs.
In separate interviews with the Review last week, the business behemoths confirmed that economic troubles have necessitated a reconsideration of the project’s size and construction.

“Phase one will start with an approximately 40,000-square-foot marketplace featuring the best of Philly foods in a broad main concourse and meeting area, surrounded by up to four distinct dining and entertainment venues,” Jeffrey M. Snyder, who is overseeing the Philadelphia project for Cordish, said.

The venture has yet to yield any commitments, but Snyder is not panicking.

“It is too early to tell how many independent tenants will be added to the phase one marketplace. Interest from excellent tenants has been extremely strong,” he said.

According to published reports, the proposed building would be square-shaped and occupy parts of 11th Street and Pattison Avenue. An architectural rendering of a scaled-down Philly Live! has yet to be presented to the City Planning Commission.

The number of potential phases and the initial cost remain unknown, but Comcast-Spectacor spokesman Ike Richman noted his company’s confidence has not diminished.

“We are very excited for the project and can’t wait for it to begin,” Richman said.

Hoping to add retail and dining options to a stadium-heavy tract, Comcast-Spectacor and Cordish unveiled plans for the entertainment district at a January ’08 press conference. Last July, the Cordish Co., presented its proposed Philly Live! plans to the City Planning Commission. The concept included an assortment of restaurants with outdoor seating, a hotel along Pattison Avenue where the Spectrum still sits, as well as a spa or health club.

More than 300 nights a year, the sports complex — also home to the Flyers, Sixers, Eagles and Phillies — is entertainment central for concerts, games and family shows.

“The Philly Live! project would give people more options for shopping and dining. With this building, they would be able to come early and stay later,” Richman said.

First, however, the Spectrum, which debuted in September 1967, must go. Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider has said in published reports that the Spectrum will be gone within the next few months, a relative time period that has stalled the Philly Live! project’s structure.

To date, the proposed entertainment area has received mixed reviews from residents, including those residing within the Sports Complex Special Services District (SCSSD), 3300 S. Seventh St. Through four districts, the 7-year-old nonprofit serves approximately 9,000 residents occupying 4,200 households surrounding the sports complex. To uphold its belief in promoting community interests, it has had correspondence with both partners to discuss community concerns. The introduction of phases has won its approval.

“The phased approach makes sense given today’s financial challenges,” Shawn Jalosinski, executive director for the SCSSD, said in last week’s interview with the Review. “It will better allow the Sports Complex to incrementally adjust to the new conditions resulting from the Philly Live! project.”

Lydia Mongelini, a resident of the 1500 block of Hulseman Street — within SCSSD’s District 2 ­— expressed mixed feelings on the project.

“I’m a sucker for tradition, so I’ll miss the Spectrum. I’m eager, though, to see what the next complex does for our economy,” she said.
Jeremy Frye, of the 800 block of Oregon Avenue — within SCSSD’s District 3 —said he finds the project useless.

“I go to Center City for everything other than for sports. What could they possibly put there, another sports bar? The whole idea bores me,” he said.

According to Cordish, the building’s offerings remain variable.

“Some of the types of venues being discussed are an upscale dining experience, a casual dining area, an entertainment venue such as a dueling piano concept and a sports bar,” Snyder said.

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 8 of 8
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1. John Jr. said... on Jul 1, 2010 at 11:02AM

“"Useless" is the best comment to date. Why doesn't anyone listen and make it FULL OF USES!!! What happen to the Concert Venue? ...and the know it all's must have missed the news that all ESPZones are closing nationwide. Hint. Sports Bars are over done”

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2. South Philly Guy said... on Aug 9, 2010 at 03:28PM

“this town lives for sports... Sports Bars are gold minds especially in South Philly...”

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3. CVphilly said... on Sep 10, 2010 at 12:01PM

“Things to make it work well: Subways run later (very JV of philly for how early they shut down and go to buses), sports bars are fine - but you need Tria/Continental type places down there too (if there are nice restaurants, baby boomers aren't going to want to go to McFadden's for a Bud after, rather a glass of wine at a nice sit down place), utilize your biggest asset (tens to sometimes hundred thousand plus philly fans) make gamedays special by offering specials!, make it as outside oriented as possible - keep the south philly open-air italian market feel, and PLEASE rename Philly Live...I can see this turning into Philly Dive quickly with the first "incident" down there. Philadelphia Avenue? Philadelphia Way?”

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4. ken said... on Nov 23, 2010 at 12:53PM

“Hey what about wwf and the great philadelphia warriors roller derby”

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5. Jeff from Bella Vista said... on Nov 23, 2010 at 07:02PM

“Please please please put in an gameing Arcade!!! Also somewhere people can go dancing!!!”

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6. nikki said... on Nov 24, 2010 at 01:16AM

“I think this is a wonderful idea! Ever been to Universal Studios, or Santa Monica Pier, South Beach, A.C., all have something similar and its beautiful. It will possibly put Philly on the map. Give us a sense of class and decency and not just be known for our bad "rap". It will also give people who go to the games somewhere else to go if they get too numb from sitting too long or bring those who can not afford to go to the games just a little bit closer to the action. Seems very romantic and it'll bring more jobs and money too. Same with the casinos, so many people see only the negative and thats the Philly way I guess...but I see a lot more possibilities than not.”

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7. Whatsit2ya said... on Dec 23, 2010 at 12:43PM

“It is going to be the exact same thing as city walk at universal excepted structured around Philadelphia sports and not movies, and cinema like city walk does. Also you are so wrong about it being a place for people to escape the games. I'm sure that when a Phillies home game is going on you won't find a single place at Philly live. where the game won't be televised. The only way you will be able to escape the sports is if you hike it down to Independence Hall and stare at the Liberty bell for a couple of hours.”

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8. mrcoldheart said... on Dec 26, 2010 at 03:52PM

“I was looking forward to this.
It would have been nice to give the Tweeter Center over in Jersey some solid competition. Thousands of other people just like me spend insane amounts of money tailgating and attending their open air stage venue.

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