Soloviev Group Partners With Mohegan in Bid for Casino Near UN

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The Soloviev Group isn’t going solo in its latest venture to create an entertainment district with a casino and Ferris wheel adjacent to the United Nations campus.

The firm led by Stefan Soloviev, the son of the late Sheldon Solow, announced Tuesday that it would partner with gaming and entertainment group Mohegan in its bid for one of the three available downstate casino licenses, the New York Times first reported

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The Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, known for its Mohegan Sun casino south of Norwich, Conn., would run the gaming floor of Soloviev’s planned casino. The developer expects the partnership to give it an edge over the considerable — and growing — competition for a gaming license in the development of what it is calling Freedom Plaza.

“As a leader in socially responsible development, we will honor, complement and advance Mohegan’s principles through sustainable and carbon-neutral property development,” Soloviev said in a statement. “This strategic partnership will not only ensure that Freedom Plaza will be ethically developed, but provide long-term economic prosperity for the local community, a positive impression on regional and international tourism, and a lasting impact on New York City for generations to come.”

The announcement comes almost a month after the New York State Gaming Commission voted on guidelines for applicants that included community benefits, approval from local elected officials and a $500 million application fee.

While most New Yorkers willing to make a road trip to do a little gambling know Mohegan for its Connecticut location, the group also operates other resorts in the United States, Canada and Northern Asia.

“Our rich Mohegan heritage provides the foundation for how we operate our business and guides our commitment to our employees, our approach to guest services and our relationship with partners and the communities in which we operate and serve,” Ray Pineault, CEO of Mohegan, said in a statement.

Freedom Plaza will not merely be a casino, Soloviev Group executives previously told Commercial Observer. It will be developed with a park, sports fields, a hotel, a performance space and a Ferris wheel as its centerpiece. Not only that, but Solviev plans to build a museum dedicated to the subject of democracy.

The Soloviev Group hopes this will be the answer to the long-standing question of what to do with the 6.7 acres near the United Nations purchased by Solow from Consolidated Edison in 2000 for $600 million.

There’s plenty of firms planning to cut the deck with the Gaming Commission for a Manhattan casino license, most recently Hudson’s Bay Company announcing plans to park one atop Saks Fifth Avenue at 611 Fifth Avenue

Others include Related Companies with gaming partner Wynn Resorts wanting a facility in the western portion of Hudson Yards; Thor Equities, Saratoga Casino Holdings, The Chickasaw Nation and Legends trying to get a casino in Coney Island, Brooklyn; Point72 Asset Management’s Steve Cohen plans a gambling house next to Citi Field; and SL Green Realty, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and Caesars Entertainment eyeing a gaming floor in Times Square.

There’s also the Las Vegas Sands’ proposal for a casino near the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island.

Vornado Realty Trust has also been reportedly considering the site of the Hotel Pennsylvania Midtown for a casino, where it had formerly planned to build offices until “economic headwinds” soured its appetite.

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