Parx Casino has a new site planned for its mini-casino in Cumberland County, which it now intends to place in a former Lowe’s home improvement store near Interstate 81 in Shippensburg Township.
The location is about a mile from an initial site proposed about a mile away, directly at the I-81 Exit 29 interchange. That undeveloped location was abandoned by Parx and its parent company, Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, due to sinkhole problems discovered upon excavation work.
Parx has not publicized its decision about using the former Lowe’s at 250 S. Conestoga Dr., which is part of a larger retail plaza that also includes a Walmart Supercenter and other businesses. The choice came up for discussion indirectly, however, during a Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board meeting Wednesday.
Board officials explained that there had been a dispute between Parx and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation concerning the need for additional traffic study resulting from the casino’s relocation, particularly as it pertains to the I-81 interchange and any improvements that may be needed to it. That dispute was resolved with compromise for now that the company would do some additional study, but not as extensively as the department sought, and any resulting highway cost issues would be dealt with later.
Parx on pace to open fourth or fifth mini-casino
Parx will be situating one of the state’s five planned mini-casinos near the border of Cumberland and Franklin counties, taking advantage of I-81 traffic flowing between Harrisburg and Maryland.
The casino operator bid $8.1 million in February 2018 for the development rights, although it must go through another public hearing process involving the local community before it can be licensed by the gaming board and proceed. Shippensburg Township officials are supportive of the project, having chosen previously not to make use of an opt-out option that could have excluded the township from consideration for the new gaming.
Parx would like to begin construction on the project this year using a development timeline of about 12 months, according to documents it submitted to the board. That would put it on schedule to be either the fourth or fifth mini-casino in the state, depending on the pace of the project planned in Centre County by Bally’s Corp. and Philadelphia businessman Ira Lubert.
The mini-casinos are allowed up to 750 slot machines and 30 to 40 table games, although Parx officials indicated previously their mini-casino may have fewer machines and tables. The mini-casinos can also include restaurants, bars, entertainment options, and a sportsbook.
The first one opened in November in Westmoreland County — the Live! Pittsburgh venture of Cordish Gaming Group. Penn National Gaming anticipates opening its two mini-casinos late this year in York and Berks counties.