Thor Looks to Hammer Competition in $3B Bid for Coney Island Casino

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Thor Equities isn’t leaving it up to the dealer to bust in terms of getting a casino license, amassing a number of partners to help run the potential $3 billion gambling house in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

The landlord tapped Saratoga Casino Holdings, The Chickasaw Nation and Legends as partners in the pursuit of one of three highly sought-after downstate casino licenses, trying to beat out several other major developers that have announced their own proposals — and alliances with gaming providers — in Manhattan and Queens.

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Thor Chairman Joe Sitt — a Coney Island local — has expressed interest in building a casino in the southern Brooklyn beach destination for about a year. Sitt is sweetening the pot with the new partners and emphasizing the investment as completely free of taxpayer funding.

​​“New York will always be our home and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to reclaim Coney Island’s legacy and bring new economic possibilities to an iconic neighborhood,” Sitt said in a statement. “With our incredible partners, we are committed to creating lasting prosperity for a community and its residents and turn Coney Island into a vibrant year-round destination for all to enjoy. Together we have the track record across development, operations, gaming, entertainment and job creation that is best suited to bring Coney Island security and vitality for the next century.”

Thor said the casino project would create about 2,500 construction jobs for Kings County. ome local groups have already thrown their support behind Sitt’s push.

“This project will finally stimulate our local economy in a way that turns Coney Island into a year-round destination,” Randy Peers, CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “Most importantly, it will create all-year full-time employment for our local residents who can grow their career and serve the community they grew up in.”

But Sitt isn’t alone in the desire to build a casino in the Playground of the World. Billionaire John Catsimatidis, the CEO of Gristedes Food who recently built a pair of residential towers in Coney Island, has also expressed interest in putting a casino in Coney Island.

But before patrons can try their hands at blackjack after a ride on The Cyclone, Sitt and Catsimatidis will have to outdeal plenty of other players seeking to win one of the three up-for-grabs casino licenses.

On Monday, Stefan Soloviev, the billionaire owner of 9 West 57th Street and son of the late Sheldon Solow, also announced that he would apply for downstate gaming license to develop a 6-acre site south of the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan.

Related Companies and Wynn Resorts unveiled a plan in September to build a casino on the undeveloped western section of Hudson Yards, while SL Green Realty and Caesars Entertainment proposed a redevelopment of 1515 Broadway in Times Square recently.

Point72 Asset Management’s Steve Cohen — owner of the Mets — has also said he would like to build a casino in Willets Point, Queens, right next to Citi Field and a new 25,000-square-foot soccer stadium that may be built in the coming years.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.