With Revised NY Casinos Plan, Related Companies Believes It Has A Wynn-ing Bid

Written By Grant Lucas on June 1, 2023
looking out on Hudson Yards New York City skyline

Hurdles in Queens and the Bronx may clear the way for a proposed New York casinos in Manhattan.

As first reported by the New York Post, Related Companies revised its plans for a potential casino in Hudson Yards that includes two skyscrapers: one spanning 3 million square feet, branded by Wynn and featuring a 1,700-room hotel and 250,000 square feet of casino gaming, and the other a 2-million-square-foot office tower.

“It will be one of the most incredible tall buildings in New York City,” Related CEO Jeff Blau told the Post.

This reveal comes on the heels of proposed NY casinos hitting snags, theoretically opening an avenue for Related to become a serious consideration for one of the three downstate licenses.

Not only due to its hotel and gaming floor, as well as high-end restaurants and shops, but also because of a public park, school and affordable apartment tower, Blau expressed optimism that Related would indeed secure licensing.

“For these reasons we feel we’re in a good position with the best proposal. We’re looking to win.”

Details to earn Related licensing for one of three downstate NY casinos

Related did not waste much time leaping at the opportunity for a downstate casino in New York. The real estate developer partnered with Wynn in fall 2022 to develop a proposal, which has now become a $10 billion plan for the western half of Hudson Yards.

While legal casino expansion draws the spotlight, other details of the proposal expect to help Related land one of the three available licenses.

For example, the company intends to develop a nearly six-acre public park that connects to the High Line as well as a public school. In addition, Related plans to open a 1-million-square-foot apartment tower featuring 329 “affordable” units.

Blau, though, told the Post that the hotel could be the coup de grace – a much-needed service to the nearby and struggling Javits Center.

“The Javits Center just expanded but continues to lose business to other cities because it doesn’t have a hotel,” Blau said.

It also doesn’t hurt that Related’s plans involved an empty space. Unlike other projects, Blau emphasized that his group’s proposal does not directly disrupt the community because of the vast vacancy in the western yard.

Hurdles in Queens, Bronx could help Related

The race for three casino licenses (which is likely only for one, as the two existing VLTs in the area expect to receive licensing) continues to heat up. But two proposals recently hit snags.

In Queens, Sen. Jessica Ramos announced that she would not introduce legislation to ease land-use restrictions around Citi Field for the construction of a casino complex envisioned by New York Mets owner Steve Cohen.

Meanwhile, Bally’s, which targeted Donald Trump’s golf course in the Bronx, ran into a conflict with the city regarding leasing of the land.

That said, Related isn’t completely in the clear, as it naturally as its own detractors. Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, for example, will be part of the six-member board reviewing Related’s proposal.

“It’s a steep hill to climb,” Hoylman-Sigal told the Post, “given the community was promised open space, a public school and affordable housing where the casino is proposed.”

Once again, though, it doesn’t hurt that Related owner Stephen Ross stands as one of the biggest donors for Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Timeline for downstate NY casinos

The process for awarding licenses still has a ways to go.

The state’s Gaming Facility Location Board has yet to publish its responses to the first round of questions from interested applicants. And there is no set timeline for when those will come about.

Once done, interested parties will submit a second round of questions, again followed by GFLB responses. Only then, perhaps not until late-summer, will the state officially call for applications. Following the review of Community Advisory Committees, the GFLB will make its recommendations for the three downstate casino licenses.

All told, we might not see those final decisions made until 2024.

Photo by John Minchillo/AP Photo
Grant Lucas Avatar
Written by
Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is the managing editor for PlayNY. A longtime, award-winning sports writer, Grant has covered gambling and legal sports betting since 2018, when he got his start reporting on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania industries. He now oversees PlayNY as New York expands legalized gambling to sports betting and online casino gaming.

View all posts by Grant Lucas
Privacy Policy