Go west, young casino developer.
That’s what Related Companies and Wynn Resorts plan to do with the undeveloped western section of Hudson Yards, announcing on Thursday they teamed up to apply for a downstate casino license, Bloomberg first reported.
In terms of revenue, the developers don’t see much of a gamble in building a casino on the massive Hudson Yards site as it would be right next door to the Javits Center, which just got a $1.5 billion expansion. The site also has a station for the 7 train, which stretches across Queens to Hudson Yards, and a score of office tenants nearby.
Related added the project would also create jobs from the construction and operations of the casino as well as generate billions in tax revenue for the city and state.
“As New York City emerges from the pandemic, the western Yards provides the ideal site for a resort that will reinvigorate our tourism economy and provide billions in tax revenues for the city and state,” Jeff Blau, CEO of Related Companies, said in a statement. “Combining Related’s unparalleled ability to execute complex mixed-use developments with the best-in-class resort and gaming operator is the perfect pair, and we’re excited to pursue this together.”
If built, the Hudson Yards gambling den would be the second casino in the five boroughs after Resorts World New York City in South Ozone Park, Queens, an arduous schlep for most New Yorkers.
Related declined to say the potential size of the entertainment and gaming facility planned for its 6.2 million-square-foot western Yards, but the average casino floor in Las Vegas hovers around 33,000 square feet, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Related originally planned to build housing, offices and a school on the underdeveloped section of the $25 billion Hudson Yards, but seems to have ditched those plans for the gambling den, Bloomberg reported.
But Related and Wynn face stiff competition to go all-in on a Manhattan casino. The New York State Legislature approved only three downstate casino licenses earlier this year and require a green light from city and state agencies before construction can start.
And there’s likely only one license up for grabs. Sources previously told Commercial Observer that the first two are expected to be awarded to The Genting Group to add table games to its Aqueduct Racetrack, also in South Ozone Park, and to VICI Properties to operate the Empire City Casino in Yonkers.
Related and Wynn have some of the biggest names in real estate competing against them for the license. Vornado Realty Trust wants to open a resort near Herald Square, L&L Holding is contemplating a gambling facility at its TSX Broadway development in Times Square, SL Green Realty is considering one at 1515 Broadway, Hard Rock Cafe is eyeing three sites in Manhattan, Morris Bailey is looking into one at the former McAlpin Hotel, and both Thor Equities and John Catsimatidis are floating the idea of casinos in Coney Island.
Still, Wynn and Related exuded confidence in their chances of hitting blackjack for a license.
“Wynn Resorts has a long history of utilizing a compact, upscale casino floor to support the creation of spectacular resort experiences that appeal to an array of guests — travelers and locals alike,” Craig Billings, CEO of Wynn Resorts, said in a statement.
Mark Hallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.