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The beginning of a new era in Philadelphia began Thursday, as Comcast-Spectacor  and The Cordish Companies  announced the details and grand opening of Philadelphia’s new sports and entertainment complex: ‘XFINITY Live! Philadelphia,’ which is currently under construction at the site of the dearly departed Spectrum. The project, which was formerly known as ‘Philly Live!’ will launch on April 5th, 2012.Xfinity Live!

Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko and Chairman Ed Snider, briefly addressed the crowd, which included Ed Rendell, Ray Didinger, and Phillies Chairman Bill Giles, who donned construction hats along with the other guests as they watched on.

The Cordish Companies’ Vice President Reed Cordish followed shortly after and revealed the dining options and features that will aspire to make ‘XFINITY Live! Philadelphia’ one of the premier entertainment and dining districts in the country.

One of the main attractions will be the first ever NBC Sports Arena, which will (according to Cordish) “far, far exceed the ESPN Zone.”  

Cordish isn’t joking. The backdrop will consist of a million dollar, 32-foot in diameter, 6mm high-definition LED screen.

“There will be nothing like this in the country,” insists Cordish. “It will be a remarkable flagship marquee attraction for this building, and also for the city of Philadelphia. Every city would love to have an attraction like that. It’s going to be incredibly special.”

The Spectrum Grille will be the high-end restaurant of the complex, and Philly MarketPlace will be the centerpiece of ‘XFINITY Live! Philadelphia’  Philly MarketPlace will include such Philadelphia institutions as Chickie’s and Pete’s, Nick’s Roast Beef, and The Original Philadelphia Cheesesteak Company, whose signs you may recognize at Phillies games. ‘The Original’ provides the meat for many of the steak sandwich shops around Philadelphia, but the companies’ first ever retail outlet will be in the marketplace.

Check out all of Joe Vallee Sr's photos of this event in our Facebook Gallery!

Also making its Philadelphia debut is the PBR Bar and Grill (No, it doesn’t stand for Pabst Blue Ribbon!). Coming off a successful launch in Vegas, PBR serves Tex-Mex cuiisine with a country and southern rock flair. And if that’s not enough, you can also get your ‘Urban Cowboy’ on with their mechanical bull!

And for all you beer lovers out there, the Victory Beer Hall (a partnership with Philly's Victory Brewing Company) will feature craft beers as well as live entertainment with a view of the Wells Fargo Center.

And last but not least, the Broad Street Bullies Pub (which will include 48 drafts on tap) pays homage to the Flyers’ Broad Street Bullies teams of the 1970’s. With the combination of he pub and Spectrum Grille, there is no denying that Mr. Snider wanted to make those Flyers teams of the 70’s an important part of the new complex.

“We’re right next to where the Spectrum was, so all of that was done very consciously,” emphasized Mr. Snider.

Snider also praised the work of The Cordish Companies for helping to capture the essence of Philadelphia.

“We’ve been working with the Cordish Group for (I think) over five years now. They know Philly very well.”

When you think of ‘XFINITY Live! Philadelphia,’ think Inner Harbor in Baltimore without the Inner Harbor. It’s not too much of a stretch. Oddly enough, The Cordish Companies is the same entertainment development group behind the redevelopment of the harbor. However, company president David Cordish thinks right now there will be nothing quite like ‘XFINITY Live! Philadelphia.’The Cordish Companies' President David Cordish, Vice President Reed Cordish,Ed Snider,Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Comcast Cable David Watson,Comcast Spectacor President Peter Luukko.

“All of our other ones (entertainment complexes) are all open with no climate control,” states Cordish. “None of them have ever had a marketplace before. We did that because there are so many great local names here. Most cities don’t have that.”

Perhaps lost in all of the excitement is the potential job opportunities ‘XFINITY Live! Philadelphia’ will provide for 750 workers in the area. The hiring will start at a job fair in the next several weeks that will take place at the Wells Fargo Center.

For years, residents in this city have voiced their displeasure with the lack of social activity in the surrounding areas of the sports complex. You don’t want to have to fight to find a parking space and leave your home an hour before game time when you live just minutes away.

At long last, we may finally have our answer to these problems. And judging by the video which was shown at the conclusion of the ceremonies, it looks like  ‘XFINITY Live! Philadelphia’ is going to be the real deal.

After all, with the partnership of Comcast-Spectacor and The Cordish Companies, you have a winning team from top to bottom.

“I think they’re gonna be amazed what we have here, said Snider. “There’s nothing like it that I know of anywhere in the world. It’s hard to totally describe it to people, and when they see it, I think they are going to be very pleasantly surprised.”

“We think this will be a destination, not just a place before and after events. We’ve seen that experience happen at other cities with sports bars. Of course, there’s nothing like this in any other city. We think people are going to want to come down here just to be part of this sports complex.”

Yes indeed, ‘XFINITY Live! Philadlephia’  will certainly become part of a new and exciting Philadelphia experience.

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Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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