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Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia Development

Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia is a 2 million square foot, world-class entertainment concept like no other located in the middle of the city’s Stadium District. Surrounded by the Phillies’ Citizens Bank Ballpark, the Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field, the Flyers’ and 76ers’ Wells Fargo Center, and in close proximity to Xfinity Live!, the casino hotel weaves an authentically Philly sports and gaming experience for fans across the board.

McLaren Engineering Group provided full site, civil and structural engineering services for the project that involved razing the site’s former hotel complex and building a brand-new facility in its place. Today, the development features luxury hotel rooms in a 12-story all-glass tower, 130,000 square foot state-of-the-art gaming floor, a collection of bars, lounges, and restaurants adorned with huge LED screens, and a flexible space Event Center. All are connected to a convenient 500,000 square feet structured parking garage.

Structural Engineering

Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia was designed using a combination of structural systems. To allow for an open gaming floor with limited obstructions, the casino section utilized structural steel and the event space utilized long-span joists. The use of long span joists allowed for 32,000 square feet of ballroom event space with 120 foot clear spans. The joists were designed to strict deflection criteria to allow for the use of operable partitions in order to maximize flexibility between convention and performance venue uses.

Architectural “Ribbon” at Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia

McLaren engineered structural steel support of the iconic architectural “ribbon”.  Unifying the parking, casino, and hotel tower, the undulating and curving ribbon often did not align to floor levels or slab edges. This required the team to design a complex system of support, including roof screen, girts and braces, and a 160’ long curved steel truss at the 10th Street entrance.

Porte-Cochere + Parapet

At the casino’s grand entrance, 8-foot-deep plate girders with up to 27’ cantilevered breams were utilized to enable the “floating” porte-cochere to be supported on a single column. The configuration created clear spans of up to 155 feet column to column. For the 20-foot-tall sloping parapet topping the hotel tower, McLaren engineered a steel frame and catwalk system for its support.

Civil Engineering Development

McLaren’s provided a full range of civil engineering services for the construction of the hotel casino complex. The team developed a ground improvement plan that enabled the casino to be supported on shallow foundations. This resulting in $1.5 million in savings for the client.

Traffic + Utility

The team provided coordination of utility relocation, new utility connections phased to keep traffic moving, and public design improvements. This included revised pavement markings, roadway widening, curb-realignment, additional access road, street lighting, street tree design, new public sidewalks and bike lane paths, roadway signage, and coordination of new traffic signal upgrades.

Stormwater Management

McLaren overcame many site challenges to provide stormwater management onsite to keep proposed post-development flows from stressing the existing storm drain network. The site soils were 100% historical fill with potentially contaminated material.  To address the possible contaminated soils, McLaren produced a soil restoration plan that required any spoil material to be removed from the site and taken to a PADEP approved location. The evidence of contaminated soil required the Civil team to design stormwater management facilities so no contaminated material could leach into the stormwater system. Stormwater management water quality volume requirements were met via four bio-retention facilities, over three acres of green roof,  two underground extended detention pipes (60), and a variety of Low Impact Development techniques such as widespread use of porous pavement (asphalt, concrete, and pavers) and impervious area disconnection.

The site under existing conditions was 61.8% impervious (5.56 acres). In order to avoid the installation of large and costly downstream flood control systems to the combined storm-sewer system, the design team reduced the site imperviousness by 20% (1.11 acres). The building occupies roughly 80% of the site area. The team provided a site design that included at least 3.83 acres of impervious area disconnect in order to avoid triggering the flood control requirement. Impervious area disconnect was achieved via a 3-acre green roof, 0.51 acres of pervious paving, 0.21 acres of sidewalk sheet flow to landscape areas, and 0.07 acres of rooftop disconnect.

Green Roof

Additional stormwater management measures include a potential rooftop green space atop the parking garage. McLaren provided structural support which would allow for a nearly 3-acre green roof plantings. A green rooftop spanning a large part of the Philadelphia Live! Casino and Hotel would help create a unique urban experience while satisfying stormwater requirements. Rooftop plantings would slow the overflow of heavy rain, helping reduce pollution of waterways while also reducing air pollution and energy costs.

Philadelphia, PA
Year Completed
BLT Architects; Owner: The Cordish Companies

Image Credit for Images 12, 13, 15 and 18: The Cordish Companies; Images 3 and 7: BLT Architects