Pennsylvania Satellite Casino Outside Pittsburgh Could Spur Regional Development

A Pennsylvania satellite casino located some 30 miles outside Pittsburgh could be ripe for nearby development, local officials say.

Pennsylvania casino Live! PittsburghPennsylvania casino Live! Pittsburgh
Once a Bon-Ton, Live! Casino Pittsburgh is the first Pennsylvania satellite gaming property to get operations underway. (Image: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Live! Casino Pittsburgh opened its $150 million doors on November 24. The casino and entertainment space occupies what used to be a Bon-Ton department store at the Westmoreland Mall.

The Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation (WCIDC) is bullish on Live! bringing an economic spark to the area. The casino is projected to inject the region with a $188 million annual economic impact, $47.5 million in new taxes, and 500 permanent jobs.

With excitement budding from the casino opening, WCIDC Director Jason Rigone believes real estate and industrial developers will take a closer look at Westmoreland. This week, the WCIDC entered into an agreement with the county to purchase 110 acres of vacant land for $2.5 million, or approximately $22,727 per acre.

Ready for Development

Live! Casino Pittsburgh is the first of five planned Pennsylvania satellite casinos to commence operations. Owned and operated by The Cordish Companies, the casino has 750 slot machines and 30 table games, FanDuel sportsbook, several restaurants and bars, and an upper level open to guests of all ages featuring non-casino games.

With Live! promising to “up the ante on entertainment for everyone in the Greater Pittsburgh region,” surrounding areas could be prime targets for various investments.

The 110 acres the WCIDC is purchasing is located along Georges Station Road adjacent from the Westmoreland County Industrial Park. The largely wooded land is roughly one mile east of the Westmoreland Mall and Live! Casino Pittsburgh along Route 30.

We’re excited for that region of the county,” Rigone told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We’re not timbering the property at this point. We are being patient, trying to understand what the office dynamic may be looking forward.”

Rigone says the land is attractive for various developments, including industrial, office, manufacturing, and residential. The property sits north of the Lincoln Highway behind an auto dealer and service complex.

Formed as a nonprofit in 1983 by the Westmoreland County Board of Commissioners, WCIDC is committed to supporting economic development efforts in the county. With the 110 acres under WCIDC control, the organization can market the opportunity and work with potential developers.

Opening Amid Pandemic

Just hours before Live! Casino Pittsburgh was set to open its doors, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced new COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The governor urged Keystone State residents to limit unnecessary travel and stay home as much as possible.

Regardless, Live! held its grand opening on Tuesday, November 24. Only about 30 people were lined up outside the casino as the doors swung open at 6 am.

As is the case at the 12 other land-based casinos in Pennsylvania, Live! Pittsburgh is adhering to numerous coronavirus health safety measures. Guests are required to have their temperatures taken prior to entry, everyone must wear face masks inside, physical distancing is being practiced, and seats at slot machines and table games have been separated with plexiglass dividers.

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