Mets owner Steve Cohen proposes $8 billion casino complex at Citi Field

Included in the proposal is a Hard Rock hotel and casino, a live music venue, 20 acres of new park space and a food hall.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Mets owner proposes casino complex around Citi Field
Anthony Carlo has more on the proposed park plan.

FLUSHING, Queens (WABC) -- Billionaire Mets owner Steve Cohen is pitching a sprawling $8 billion hotel, music venue and casino at Citi Field in Queens.

The complex would rise on 50 acres of parking lot space surrounding the stadium and be operated in conjunction with Hard Rock International.

"With 15,000 jobs and an $8 billion price tag, we need to be encouraging this kind of development in Queens County," said Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech. "This is transformative, to bring those small mom and pops to the table and potentially support on site. With restaurants and food and food courts, it's going to be fantastic!"

Included in the proposal is a Hard Rock hotel and casino, a live music venue, 20 acres of new park space and a food hall.

The complex would make the home of the New York Mets a year-round draw for tourists - and maybe even some Yankees fans.

"I think it'll bring more people around - and traffic," said one resident. "We might have to suffer for a little, but I think overall it'll be better for the area."

"The neighborhood needs it," another told Eyewitness News. "The neighborhood needs to be built up."

But Cohen faces two immediate hurdles:

  • Use of the land requires approval from the state legislature and the governor;
  • and the casino would be one of three new casino licenses slated to be issued by state gaming regulators in the downstate region, which includes New York City.
  • There is fierce competition among a dozen other applicants for those licenses, with sites including Times Square, Hudson Yards, the Bally's Golf Links at Ferry Point (until recently operated by Donald Trump), Coney Island and the Nassau Coliseum.

    And two existing slots parlor operators, Genting at the Aqueduct racetrack and Empire Resorts MGM at Yonkers racetrack, are seeking two of three casino licenses to offer table games.

    The property surrounding Citi Field is home to Flushing Corona Park, the U.S. Open Tennis Center, and a planned soccer stadium for New York City FC. That plan is backed by Mayor Eric Adams.

    Plans to build a casino at the site have been rumored for months, but the details of Cohen's proposal, along with confirmation by his partners, are only being released now.

    Cohen has invested heavily in the site already, holding meetings with the community, hiring lobbyists and lining up support from elected officials.

    "We're not Atlantic City, thank God, and we're not Las Vegas. But at the end of the day, they have numerous casinos and we're a big place," said Grech. "We're in a great location for that kind of attention."

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