Group Behind Times Square Casino Proposal Intends to Invest $250m in the Local Community

  • Caesars Entertainment, SL Green, and Roc Nation are behind the proposal
  • Money would go toward cleaning up the area and providing more greenery
  • Nearly a dozen groups are battling it out for one of three casino licenses
Times Square
The real estate development firm that is part of the proposal to bring a casino to Times Square intends to invest $250m in the local community if it gets a license. [Image:]

Big money

Competition for the three downstate New York commercial casino licenses is heating up and one of the standout proposals is for a facility in Times Square. Caesars Entertainment has partnered with real estate developer SL Green and the Jay-Z-founded Roc Nation to try to secure approval for the project.

not planning to make a final decision until the end of 2025

The application process so far has been very drawn out, with the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) not planning to make a final decision until the end of 2025.

amNewYork Metro reported that the Caesars Palace Times Square backers are trying to sweeten their application by committing to invest $250m in the local community if they get the green light from the state gambling regulator. They would start pumping the money into projects from the day of approval rather than waiting until the casino opens.

Cleaning up the area

Funds would go toward different projects, including adding hundreds of trees to the streets, introducing extensive composting areas, and improving sanitation in the areas of Hell’s Kitchen and Midtown.

small business owners in the area will benefit from the increased foot traffic

SL Green Executive Vice President Brett Herschenfeld eased concerns of local residents by confirming that they won’t lose their parking spaces and emphasizing that small business owners in the area will benefit from the increased foot traffic. He said that the businesses are “the lifeblood of Times Square” and that everyone will win if the project gets the seal of approval.

Herschenfeld explained that his team canvassed locals over the past three years about what they could do to help ease doubts about a casino coming to the area. Concerns about cleanliness led to a partnership with the non-profit Doe Fund that creates jobs for the underprivileged, such as picking up litter and sweeping sidewalks. Complaints about the lack of green space brought about the idea of planting more trees and creating composting initiatives.

Tough competition

Nearly a dozen groups are trying to get one of the three coveted casino licenses. Some of the projects are dealing with zoning issues, such as Steve Cohen’s planned $8bn project beside Citi Field in collaboration with Hard Rock International.

Other pitches include expanding existing slot parlors in the city into full-scale commercial casinos, as well as new developments in Hudson Yards, Long Island, and Coney Island.

Residents in some of these areas have rallied against plans, complaining about potential increases in crime and congestion. All bidders need to get support from local officials and have a plan to invest in communities to be considered by the NYSGC.

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