The Related Companies announced this earlier week its plans to team up with casino giant Wynn Resorts to bid for one of three downstate casino licenses.
The proposal to build a casino at the Hudson Yards development on Manhattan’s west side has its advantages.
There’s plenty of room to build it on the currently undeveloped western portion of the site. The developer, chaired by billionaire Stephen Ross, has significant clout.
The hard part could be to win over local elected officials.
What You Need To Know
- The Related Companies announced this earlier week its plans to team up with casino giant Wynn Resorts to bid for one of three downstate casino licenses
- Related would build the casino at Hudson Yards, on the currently undeveloped western half of the site
- Bidders must win approval from four of the six members of a community advisory committee controlled by local elected officials
- State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried are among those expressing doubts about the Hudson Yards proposal
“I’m skeptical,” State Senator Brad Hoylman said. “I think it’s a very steep hill.”
State lawmakers in April approved a plan to award three casino licenses in the downstate area. Other interested bidders are reportedly eyeing the Times Square area and the area near Citi Field, among other locations.
Another leading contender is Resorts World, which currently operates a so-called racino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, which features slot machines and video lottery machines but no table games.
But bidders must win approval from four of the six members of a community advisory committee. That committee will comprise representatives of the mayor, governor and local elected officials.
With Hudson Yards, that would include Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who said in an interview Friday, “I don’t think a casino belongs in Manhattan.”
Gottfried is retiring at the end of the year, so any decision-making would likely fall to his successor. But others also have concerns.
In particular, they note Related’s prior commitments on the site.
“We were promised years ago when that project first launched a school, affordable housing, open space,” Hoylman said. “So we’re not willing to relinquish any of that.”
A Related spokesman said those elements would still be included in the development, even if the casino goes forward.
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, who would also have a say on the advisory committee, is keeping an open mind.
“I think being located next to Javits is a potential benefit, in that this could support trade shows at Javits,” he said.
Mayor Eric Adams did not weigh in on the Hudson Yards proposal this week, but a spokesman said, “The gaming commission will decide on where these casinos will be located, but we are hoping two of the three downstate casinos will be placed in New York City.”
The Hudson Yards casino would also have to go through the city’s arduous land-use process — another layer of approvals that would test the political influence of Ross, a major donor to Gov. Kathy Hochul and others.
“This needs to be a process that’s not influenced by political considerations,” Levine said. “This needs to be a process in which we weigh a proposal on the merits.”