The new $150 million Live! Casino Pittsburgh is one step closer to the opening, after a groundbreaking ceremony took place on Wednesday for the 100,000 square foot complex being built about 30 miles from downtown Pittsburgh in Hempfield Township.
Stadium Casino Westmoreland RE, LLC, part of The Cordish Companies based in Baltimore, will replace the Bon-Ton department store which closed its doors in August of last year at the slumping Westmoreland Mall.
Pennsylvania State Senator, Kim Ward, and State Representative George Dunbar joined Cordish execs, along with city leaders and local companies, as shovel was placed on the ground beginning construction on the 1,3 million square foot project that is expected to generate $188 million in annual economic impact.
Construction is expected to contribute $148 million in additional economic impact, including some 960 direct and indirect construction jobs, along with about 500 permanent jobs for local and regional residents.
Jon Cordish, Principle of The Cordish Companies, reflected on the achievement in a recent press release: “We couldn’t be more pleased to break ground on the newest Live! Casino project and expand this distinctive brand even further into Pennsylvania.
“We are a family-owned company that is deeply committed to treating our guests like family, so we’re going to ensure that everything our guests have come to love about Live! Casino – first-class service, friendly atmosphere and exciting environment – is reflected in this new, unique gaming, dining and entertainment destination in Westmoreland County.”
Upon completion, the gaming, dining and entertainment destination will feature 750 slots, nearly 30 live-action table games, the maximum permitted by Pennsylvania law for Category 4 casinos, a recently announced sportsbook, Sports & Social Steel City. The 445-seat, two-level restaurant, gaming venue and social lounge will provide guests with the “ultimate sports fan experience.” The location will also feature a variety of immersive social games, such as a golf simulator, bowling, darts, ping pong and more, as well as a 45-foot tall LED video screen and a Classic American Grill menu.
“Our team is very excited to enter the Pittsburgh market to introduce the way we approach and create unique entertainment experiences for our guests,” said Reed Cordish, Principal, The Cordish Companies. “We’re confident that Live! Casino, along with Sports & Social Steel City and other amenities, will be the perfect addition to the region. We’re very grateful to everyone in the community who is working with us to bring this project to life.”
The Cordish companies are creating the much larger Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia, and a Category 2 licence renewal for its construction was also awarded in August. The company is also running Live! Arundel Mills Maryland Casino & Spa and Philadelphia’s Xfinity Live Entertainment Center.
Stadium Casino won the second round of bidding in January 2018 to open a mini-casino in Pennsylvania, with a winning $40.1 million bid from the Baltimore group. The operator had to open his new gambling venue within Westmoreland County and within a 15-mile radius of Derry Township in the region as a condition of sale.
Announced in July 2018 and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved gaming licence in August, Live! Casino is expected to promote growth and allow people to spend time at Westmoreland Mall, where a series of delays plagued the property owned by CBL Properties, an investment trust.
The shopping complex, which is one of the largest in the western part of the state, could see spillover foot traffic from the coming casino, which would be another benefit given that the vacancy rates at malls nationally are at 10.2 percent and continue to rise, according to a April Reuters report cited by Reis Inc., a real estate research firm.
Mount Airy Casino Resort, owned by the family of billionaire founder Louis DeNaples, is planning to build a mini-casino on the opposite side of the state along the Ohio border in Big Beaver Borough, Beaver County, following a winning bid of almost $21.2 million in February last year.
Nonetheless, it was not until January 2018 that the live auction process began that the law allowing up to 10 new mini / satellite (Category 4) casinos passed in October 2017. A series of live auctions awarded five licences, but no other bidders existed by April 2019, prompting the PGCB to run a second round of auctions on September 3, when there were no bidders again.