Casino builder Dan Keating joins Market8 project after panning it

ED HILLE / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Steve Wynn (above), seen in 2010, withdrew his casino proposal recently, prompting Keating to switch allegiance.
ED HILLE / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Steve Wynn (above), seen in 2010, withdrew his casino proposal recently, prompting Keating to switch allegiance.
Posted: November 27, 2013

DAN KEATING, a general in the army that casino developer Steve Wynn assembled to win a Philadelphia license, spent the late summer in an elaborate war room, waging a battle for public opinion.

From the penthouse of the Phoenix building near City Hall, Keating invited reporters, neighborhood groups and elected officials to examine detailed exhibits ranking the six bids for the city's second casino license.

Wynn Resorts, which proposed a sprawling development on 60 acres along the Delaware River in Fishtown, naturally won top marks from Keating, the man who was going to build it all.

Market8, the 1.9-acre bid by developer Ken Goldenberg and a group of investors at 8th and Market streets, ranked last in every category, according to Keating, who built the SugarHouse casino in Fishtown and has been involved in casino projects around the state and country.

Wynn suddenly withdrew his casino license bid two week ago.

And now Keating has joined Market8, a project he was panning just a few months ago.

Keating, in a statement released yesterday by Market8, said he "worked very hard at promoting [Wynn's bid] and distinguishing it from the other proposed projects."

With Wynn gone, Keating said he and his team "more fully understand" the Market8 bid after meeting with Goldenberg and seeing the "thoughtfulness that has gone into mitigating the challenges" he previously raised.

"We now believe that in every important respect, the Market8 project stands head and shoulders above all other proposed projects, and that this is an opportunity that it would be unfortunate for the city and commonwealth to miss."

That's quite a turnaround for Keating's opinion of Market8.

Keating's rankings - which rated projects on neighborhood impact, parking availability and convenience, impact on traffic and nongaming amenities - listed Market8 as problematic in every criteria.

He gave Market8 a failing grade and predicted the project would have a "major" impact on the surrounding neighborhood's nearby schools, churches and other institutions. He also said 61 percent of the parking for the project would not be at the location.

The state Gaming Control Board is accepting written comments about the five bidders until Dec. 31 at

The board will hold suitability hearings for the five bidders at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Jan. 28, 29 and 30.

On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN


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