SugarHouse Breaks Ground on Expansion

Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino has broken ground on a $164 million expansion that will add an event venue, new restaurants, a 30-table poker room and a parking garage. General Manager Wendy Hamilton (l.) called it a “huge milestone” for the company.

Philadelphia city officials and casino executives gathered in Philadelphia last week for a ceremony to break ground on the long-awaited expansion of the SugarHouse casino.

The property’s $164 million expansion, which is set to open in 2015, will include a 30-table poker room, additional slot floor space, a multi-purpose event venue with views of the Delaware River, new restaurants and a 1,500-space parking garage. Not counting the garage, the casino is adding 108,000 square feet of space.

The expansion will add 500 new full-time casino jobs, as well as 1,600 construction jobs.

“We are thrilled to be one step closer to the bigger and better SugarHouse Casino,” said General Manager Wendy Hamilton. “Our guests and team have been waiting for this moment, and we’re excited to say that it’s finally here. Groundbreaking is a huge milestone for us.”
Joining Hamilton and SugarHouse CEO Greg Carlin for the groundbreaking ceremony were City Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilmen Mark Squilla and William Greenlee, and attorney Richard Sprague, a minority owner of the casino.

“In three and a half years of operation, we’re a lot smarter now,” Hamilton told the Philadelphia Daily News after the ceremony. “We’ve seen where there is demand, and what people want as part of their gaming experience. That’s why even though we don’t need a lot of gaming at this point, we knew we needed these amenities to round out the experience. That was pretty much dictated by what our players told us.”

Carlin told the local CBS affiliate that the expansion will capture players currently going to other local casinos. “Let’s say you have a husband and wife visiting,” he said, “The wife plays poker and the husband likes to play slot machines. Before, they would go to Parx, Chester (Harrah’s), or Atlantic City. Now, they’ll come here if they live closer.”

The event center will feature floor-to-ceiling windows for a panoramic waterfront view. “I think it’s going to be the best place in the city to host an event,” Carlin told CBS.

The completed facility will result in an annual contribution of $1 million to the Penn Treaty Special Services District (PTSSD) to promote economic development in Fishtown, the casino’s location, and surrounding neighborhoods. Since opening, SugarHouse has generated more than $445 million in state and local taxes, and has contributed more than $5 million to local groups and organizations, including serving as the title sponsor of the New Year’s Eve Penn’s Landing fireworks and New Year’s Day Mummers Parade.
In advance of the completion of the property-wide expansion, SugarHouse is opening an interim 24-table poker room to meet a high demand for poker. It will be open 24/7 starting this fall and will remain in operation until the casino debuts its permanent poker room in 2015.