"We want to bring a first-class casino to Philadelphia," Lomax said Tuesday in a conference room at 3333 S. Front St., the headquarters of Procacci Brothers Sales Corp. "In gaming, there are three things you need: an operator, a site, and management. We have a platinum operator, platinum location, and a platinum manager."
Lomax, 80, said his company, a private-equity firm focusing on real estate, weighed numerous other investment opportunities before deciding Procacci's casino proposal was the best fit.
Chief among his reasons, Lomax said, was that he and Procacci both had deep ties to South Philadelphia. Lomax was a solo medical practitioner there for 32 years before starting a string of highly successful medical firms, including Lomax Medical Associates and Lomax Health Systems Inc. (LHS), which served underprivileged clients. In 1990, Correctional Healthcare Solutions Inc. was founded to provide health services to prisons. That company was sold in 2000.
In 1989, LHS merged with a Virginia firm to form Healthcare Management Alternatives Inc., which eventually won a contract from the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare to provide health care to Medicaid recipients in Philadelphia.
Lomax said he and Procacci also shared a rags-to-riches story. He said both "started from zilch."
Lomax said he and his family would begin with a 9 percent equity in Casino Revolution. That could grow to 36 percent, said Lomax, or a $10 million to $40 million investment. Procacci will be majority investor with 60 percent equity.
Lomax said that the exact amount would be made final later and that right now it was "a moving target."
Casino Revolution would operate and be managed as PHL Local Gaming L.L.C. Joseph Canfora, of Merit Management Group, of Chicago, would be president of PHL.
"We're here to win," Canfora said. "We believe the PHL concept is novel and special. Given our location, sheer size, and footprint, it will allow us to expand and be the least intrusive on neighborhoods," of the six proposals.
The soft-spoken Procacci, who started packaging tomatoes in the basement of his family's Camden home in 1948, is one of the nation's largest wholesale suppliers in the tomato category. He has been at the Front Street location for 49 years.
Procacci was a last-minute entry in mid-November for the final city gaming license after he said he was approached by three other groups to buy some of his land to build a casino there.
"I'm delighted to be part of this venture," said Procacci, who will turn 86 on Thursday. "We decided we had the best location, and we would go for the license ourselves.
"It feels great to try to improve South Philadelphia with a destination casino. I have every intention of building a destination casino."
Procacci said Casino Revolution would sit on a 24-acre parcel, in the crook of the Schuylkill Expressway and I-95, allowing easy accessibility. He hired Canfora to operate the proposed $367 million casino, which would have a 250-room hotel, 2,000 slots, 85 table games, and various restaurants, including a 200-seat banquet room and a 156-seat café.
Two other projects, one by Penn National Gaming Inc., and the other a partnership between Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment Inc. and the Cordish Cos., of Maryland, are also proposing casinos at the stadium complex.
Three others - local developer Bart Blatstein, Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn, and an investor group that calls itself Market East Associates - also seek the second license.
All six groups will make their first pitches to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Feb. 12 at the Convention Center.
Contact Suzette Parmley
at 215-854-2855 or firstname.lastname@example.org.