PHL Local Gaming Guarantees A Role For Minorities

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ARCHITECT’S RENDERING of proposed Casino Revolution complex in S. Phila., a project with minority business participation built in.

ARCHITECT’S RENDERING of proposed Casino Revolution complex in S. Phila., a project with minority business participation built in.

The 15th largest African American-owned business in the United States, H.J. Russell + Co., has been commissioned to target the construction management on the proposed PHL Local Gaming, LLC (, $428 million gaming facility.

The potential joint venture, between Bala Cynwyd-based L.F. Driscoll Co., LLC and H.J. Russell + Co., one of five bidders for the available Category 2 casino-gaming license, in Philadelphia, announced the addition of H.J. Russell + Co. to the project team. H.J. Russell is an Atlanta-based construction firm.

As part of its previously announced commitment to local workforce inclusion and minority workforce inclusion, PHL Local has committed to goals of 75% local workers, 35% minority workers and 7% female workers.

Included in the company’s construction-related supplier-diversity goals, PHL Local Gaming has said it will do 32% of its construction contract revenue with minority firms and 15% with female firms. It has also said all Philadelphia-based firms, regardless of race or ethnicity, will be eligible for a 7% bid preference and all Southeastern Pennsylvania-based firms will be eligible for a 5% bid preference.

According to PHL equity participant Joseph Canfora, who also serves as PHL Local’s president, the arrangement would “combine the collective expertise and capacity of Driscoll, the largest regionally based construction management firm in the Philadelphia area, with completed projects including the City’s tallest structure, the Comcast Center; and the Russell firm, whose recent projects have included the Atlanta Falcons football stadium.”

“Perhaps more importantly,” said Canfora, “our approach ensures PHL Local’s ‘Philadelphia First’ economic impact philosophy is carried out. Aside from its extensive general construction market experience, the Russell company will be primarily responsible for ensuring that local minority and female construction firms and suppliers are also appropriately included during the proposed casino’s construction phase.”

“We are absolutely confident that utilizing primarily Philadelphia-area construction firms, and workforces, we can achieve our goal of being able to open the casino at least six months earlier than any other bidder would be able to do so.”

Michael Russell, CEO, H.J. Russell, said: “We’re looking forward to being engaged on what would be a transformative project for the city of Philadelphia. We’re also anxious to attract to the project a broad array of high-quality female and minority firms, consistent with the goals in the company’s Construction Diversity Plan.”

If successful in its bid for the available casino-management license in Philadelphia, PHL Local Gaming, LLC plans to open “Casino Revolution,” a $428 million, four-star-quality “destination-caliber,” 250-room hotel and gaming facility. The casino will offer, within 18 months of winning the Category 2 license, 2400 slots, 105 table games, a steak house, a coffee/espresso bar, a high-end Italian restaurant, a 300-seat buffet, a 156-seat café and a covered, 1,600-car garage.

PHL Local Gaming has said it is able to open its casino at least six months earlier than any of the other four bidders, producing 600 jobs, $10 million in wages and $42 million in state and city taxes, before any of the other bidders would be able to open for business. Given its 25-acre site, PHL Local Gaming also has emphasized that it has the capacity to expand to the Commonwealth’s 5000-slot maximum, over time, unlike any of the other bidders.

PHL Local has also announced a plan to introduce the Lower South (LoSo) Entertainment Center, a new, family-focused, recreational and entertainment district, in the current South Philadelphia Food Distribution area, if the company is successful in its bid. The Center would serve as a catalyst and cornerstone for economic transformation in the area, and would include attractions such as food-and-beverage and retail businesses, soccer fields, racquet sports, an indoor swimming pool, a zip-line park, rock-climbing facilities, a golf-driving range, a dry ski/skateboarding park, a water park, and areas devoted to music and live entertainment.

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