Steve Cohen Unveils $8 Billion Casino Plan for Queens – A Game-Changer or an Uphill Battle?
Edited by: TJVNews.com
Steve Cohen, the billionaire owner of the New York Mets, has finally revealed his grand vision for a sprawling entertainment complex in Queens, aptly named “Metropolitan Park.” According to a recent report in the New York Post, this ambitious $8 billion project is set to include a casino, hotel, music venue, and various community-oriented amenities, with the backing of Hard Rock International. However, the fate of Metropolitan Park hangs in the balance, with legal and legislative challenges on the horizon, as was reported by the Post.
Cohen’s vision for Metropolitan Park is nothing short of spectacular. The project promises to deliver an entertainment playground that not only caters to fans and visitors but also enhances the community’s quality of life. The Post report indicated that at the heart of the proposal are 20 acres of green space and improved access to Flushing Bay, all aimed at creating a shared space for both residents and tourists.
“It’s time the world’s greatest city got the sports and entertainment park it deserves,” Cohen said, as was report by the Post.
“When I bought this team, fans and the community kept saying we needed to do better. Metropolitan Park delivers on the promise of a shared space that people will not only want to come to and enjoy but can be truly proud of,” he added.
However, the road to realizing this dream is filled with hurdles, primarily because the proposed site is designated as parkland. As was noted in the Post report, to move forward, Cohen needs to navigate the complicated path of getting approval from the state legislature and New York Governor Kathy Hochul to allow commercial development on this land.
Key lawmakers, such as State Sen. Jessica Ramos, whose district encompasses Willets Point, have not yet signaled their support for the legislation required to make Metropolitan Park a reality, the Post reported. Their absence from the list of supporters in the initial press release is telling. Senator Ramos, while remaining cautious, has promised to host a town hall meeting to gather community input and further evaluate the proposal, the report added.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards expressed optimism about the project, highlighting its community-centric proposals. The Queens Chamber of Commerce and other organizations have also expressed their support. Nevertheless, the Post said that the road ahead remains uncertain, as the casino plan will also need approval from state gaming regulators.
Current New York state law allows for up to three new casino licenses in the downstate region, which includes New York City. According to the Post report, there are competing proposals from other developers and casino operators looking to establish their own gaming facilities in areas such as Times Square, Hudson Yards, Coney Island, and possibly Ferry Point in the Bronx. This competition adds another layer of complexity to Cohen’s plan.
One potential obstacle for Steve Cohen in owning a casino is his history with SAC Capital, his hedge fund, which paid a $1.8 billion penalty in 2014 for wire fraud and securities fraud, the report in the Post said. While Cohen was not criminally charged, questions regarding his “integrity, honesty, good character, and reputation” will undoubtedly be scrutinized in the application process, the Post reported.
Despite these challenges, Cohen and affiliated firms have invested heavily in lobbying efforts and campaign donations to build support for Metropolitan Park. As was reported by the Post, the project’s promise of over $8 billion in investment, along with the creation of 15,000 permanent and construction jobs, is a compelling argument for its approval. Additionally, the plan includes features such as 20 acres of new park space, community athletic fields, bike paths, playgrounds, and climate-ready infrastructure with a focus on sustainability, the Post report added.
The proposed development also aims to improve mass transit, road networks, and parking in the area while creating new pathways to the Flushing Bay waterfront and Flushing-Corona Park, as was indicated in the Post report. The landscape architect Field Operations, known for their work on iconic projects like the High Line and Pier 17, will design the park.
Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International, envisions a project that celebrates the spirit of music while embracing the unique culture and character of Queens, according to the report in the Post. The prospect of such an entertainment complex could be a game-changer for the city, but it will require navigating a series of complex hurdles and winning over key decision-makers.
The road ahead may be filled with obstacles, but if Cohen and his partners can address concerns and garner support, Metropolitan Park could become a reality and a significant addition to the vibrant landscape of New York City.