XFINITY Live! grand opening set for April 5

The entertainment district will be called XFINITY Live! under an agreement with Comcast.
The entertainment district will be called XFINITY Live! under an agreement with Comcast. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: December 16, 2011

PHILLY LIVE! is about to come alive, officials say, except with a new name.

The entertainment district on the former site of the Spectrum in the South Philadelphia sports complex will now be known as XFINITY Live! under an agreement with Comcast announced yesterday.

The grand opening is planned for April 5, the date of the Flyers' final regular-season home game. The Phillies' home opener is April 9.

"XFINITY Live! Philadelphia is going to be the ultimate entertainment and dining destination for fans, residents and visitors of all ages," Comcast-Spectacor president Peter Luukko said.

Officials also announced plans for the dining and entertainment options and said the new facility will create 750 jobs. Officials said a job fair will be held shortly at the Wells Fargo Center.

Live! has a 60,000-square foot cluster of businesses, enclosed; and a 40,000-square foot outdoor event space; and about 20,000 parking spaces. The cost for the initial phase is $60 million.

"Without a doubt, it will be the model for all smart growth concepts going forward," officials said in a news release.

In general, parking will be free, and free on event days 1 hour after the start of the final event of the day.

The inital plans announced more than 3 years ago by Comcast-Spectacor and the Cordish Companies, a Baltimore-based developer, called for a larger facility, but the prolonged economic slump has led to what is being termed "Phase One," with the expectation of future expansion.

"Live! districts are synonymous around the country with incredible dining, entertainment, and energy," said Reed Cordish, vice president of the Cordish Companies. "By combining this approach with great local Philly operators as well the incredible power of Comcast, NBC Sports, and Comcast SportsNet, we are certain that XFINITY Live! Philadelphia will become the premier district in the country and a showpiece for Philadelphia."

Among the new dining venues announced:

* The Philly MarketPlace: Featuring local eateries such as The Original Philadelphia Cheesesteak Co., Chickie's & Pete's, and Nick's Roast Beef, with more to be announced. The Marketplace will serve as the central hub with a VIP lounge, custom draft tables and a raw bar.

* Spectrum Grille: Officials called this the "crown jewel," an upscale restaurant with steaks and seafood and a nightly cocktail party.

* Broad Street Bullies Pub: Gourmet burgers and classic pub food with 48 varieties of beer on tap. The decor will feature memorabilia from the Broad Street Bullies teams of the 1970s. The pub will serve lunch and dinner and often feature live entertainment.

* PBR Bar and Grill: Western-themed food with Tex-Mex during the day and a "country and southern rock party at night," featuring a mechanical bull. The concept is based on the Professional Bull Riders and has been successful in other markets.

* Victory Beer Hall: Features elongated, beer-hall-style tables, a stage for live indoor entertainment, and a 2,000-square-foot patio complete with a fire pit and panoramic view of the Philadelphia skyline.

Among the entertainment venues announced:

* NBC Sports Arena: The first of its kind, officials said, featuring a 32-foot diagonal, million-dollar Sony LED HD television with rings displaying the NBC Sports Ticker.

* XFINITY On Demand Theater: a 24-foot wide, Sony LED outdoor video board, which will show both sports and family movies.

* NBC Sports Field: A 300-foot artificial turf field that will host numerous outdoor activities.

* NBC Sports Fantasy Board: Stats displays to help fans follow the games and their fantasy teams.

* NBC Sports Game Experience: Located in the Broad Street Bullies Pub, featuring video games.

* Comcast SportsNet Ticker: Located inside the Philly MarketPlace, with sports headlines and scores.

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