Renovations to convert a vacant mall space near Pittsburgh into a mini-casino started in earnest this week.
The Cordish Companies plans to build a 100,000-square-foot gaming, dining and entertainment destination at the Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield Township.
The location is directly off Route 30, which is approximately 30 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. The project is pegged at $150 million. Demolition inside the mall space began in April; however, there isn’t an exact date for the opening. The launch should be sometime next summer, which is well before the company’s other PA casino project.
Mini-casino is the second gambling project for Cordish in PA
The company recently topped off the construction of a full-sized casino project in southern Philadelphia, adjacent to the sports stadiums. That facility will have a retail sportsbook, a poker room, restaurants and meeting spaces. Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia is expected to open before the end of 2020.
The company’s online sportsbook should launch next fall, a company official said recently.
The mini-casino in western PA, referred to as Live! Casino West in a company statement, will feature 750 slots and approximately 30 live-action table games, a retail sportsbook, restaurants and entertainment venues.
Pennsylvania had authorized as many as 10 mini-casinos as part of the state’s 2017 gaming expansion law. However, only five buyers emerged, including Cordish, which at auction paid $40.1 million for the license.
Together, the five successful auctions raised $127.7 million before the interest dried up.
The Cordish project may generate $188 million in annual economic impact and an additional $148 million in economic impact from construction. Also, it should create 500 permanent jobs for residents, and approximately 960 direct and indirect construction jobs should result.
Mini-casino promises a major economic boost
Jon Cordish, principal at the Cordish Companies, said at a ceremony:
“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.”
The company is creating Sports & Social Steel City, which is a restaurant, gaming venue and social lounge at the mini-casino. The 445-seat, two-level space will feature a 45-foot high LED video screen, and a wide variety of interactive social games, such as bowling, a golf simulator, ping-pong and darts.
The intention is to create a year-round fan clubhouse atmosphere with live music several nights a week. Knauer Inc. is the designer of the space.
A new market for Cordish
Reed Cordish, also a principal for the Cordish Companies, explained the importance of the new market for the company:
“Our team is very excited to enter the Pittsburgh market to introduce the way we approach and create unique entertainment experiences for our guests. We’re very grateful to everyone in the community who is working with us to bring this project to life.”
Cordish, a fourth-generation real estate and development company, operates several gaming venues, including Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland, at the Arundel Mills Mall in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.