MARKET8 last week announced the endorsements of four key African-American leadership groups for its focus on, prioritization of, and commitment to economic
inclusion as a primary goal of its proposed urban entertainment project.
Leaders of the Philadelphia NAACP, the Urban League of Philadelphia, the Urban Affairs Coalition and the African-American Chamber of Commerce of
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware joined MARKET8 officials at a press conference, touting the project’s commitment to ensure local businesses and
workers are fully included in all aspects of the economic growth of the $600 million development.
MARKET8 investor and lead developer Ken Goldenberg says this project offers a tremendous opportunity not just to transform this property, and thereby
transform the Market Street East Corridor, but to transform lives, and hopes and dreams for so many through employment, skill development, wealth
development, and education.
“As a former civil rights attorney, who got into this development business originally, 25 years ago, in order to create a financial platform my public
interest activities, ensuring meaningful and substantial employment and wealth generation opportunities for all has been one of my core business
objectives” Goldenberg said.
And this casino license, married with this property, provides a unique opportunity for extraordinary economic growth and transformation for all. And we
will work very hard with the City, the Commonwealth and the communities surrounding us to make sure that that growth and opportunity is fully realized.”
To underscore its commitment to establish an ideal program to maximize the thousands of jobs and opportunities that will be created directly and
indirectly, through development, construction, and operation, MARKET8 engaged the Urban League of Philadelphia [ULP] and the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC)
to devise an inclusion strategy that will provide the greatest economic benefit to the local community, particularly those who are not always fully
included in the community’s opportunities and benefits. ULP and UAC have a combined 150 years’ experience producing economic impact in Philadelphia and in
the mid-Atlantic region.
Highlights of the inclusion strategy include:
• A diverse ownership structure consisting of members of both Philadelphia’s majority and minority communities – as well as casino gaming operations and a
hotel that will be minority-owned and operated;
• The creation of an Advisory Committee to plan and review economic opportunity goals, strategies, and outcomes for the development/construction and
operations of MARKET8;
• Providing opportunity for local businesses and those owned by minorities and women in the construction and operations phases of the project by specific
policy and operating procedures;
• Ensuring aspirational, but attainable workforce utilization goals in both the construction and operations phases;
Construction Goals include:
–40-45 percent participation of minority women and disabled business enterprises (this goal exceeds the recommendation of the Mayor’s Advisory Commission
on Construction Industry Diversity for minorities and women of a combined 39 percent)
–50 percent participation of Philadelphia residents and 75 percent for Commonwealth residents (a subset of these would be veterans and may be formerly
The NAACP’s J. Whyatt Mondesire credited MARKET8, Mohegan Sun and the Urban League and the Urban Affairs Coalition for joining forces to devise a
comprehensive program that addresses many of the issues that prevent minority groups from achieving economic success.
“This program not only provides opportunities, but includes extensive outreach to the community and a commitment of significant resources for technical
assistance, business services, training and licensing,” Mondesire said. “I don’t know of any other organization doing a major project that has put this
much thought into its inclusion plan.”
MARKET8 earned the endorsement of the African-American Chamber because of the strength of its minority investment group, as well as The Goldenberg Group’s
track record of making minority participation a major priority in their development projects, according to Chamber Board Chairman Steven Scott Bradley.
“These are people who understand the dynamics of the African-American community, who have created opportunities for minorities and who have run businesses
and built wealth,” Bradley said. “Their priorities are reflected in this project’s inclusion approach and we are confident in MARKET8’s ability to deliver
for our community.”
William R. Miller, IV, one of six minority investors in MARKET8’s 12-member ownership group, characterized the project’s inclusion plan as “unprecedented”
and said that its principles “are ingrained in the culture of the project.”