Silverstein Joins the Casino Competition With Bid for a Far West Side Project


Silverstein Properties has anted up among many, many other developers hoping to win one of three available casino licenses.

The firm put in a bid with gaming partners Greenwood Gaming, which owns Parx Casino in Pennsylvania, to build what it is calling the Avenir — a gaming, hotel, entertainment and residential property — on a 92,000-square-foot vacant lot on the far west side of Manhattan near the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

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The residential component will be dwarfed by the other aspects of the development, but it will bring 100 units of affordable housing, Silverstein promised, which should earn the developer points with the New York State Gaming Commission in its search for a casino with social benefits.

“Our city and state face a confluence of historic challenges right now,” Larry Silverstein, chairman of Silverstein Properties, said in a statement. “These include a housing crisis, public safety challenges, budget shortfalls, and a commercial real estate market in transition. We need to work with state and local leaders to do everything we can to make New York the best place to live, work and visit. We’ve done it before, and I am confident we can do it again.”

Silverstein has owned the property between West 42nd and West 41st streets and 11th and 12th avenues since 1984. He now wants to build two 46-story towers linked by a skybridge, 1,000 hotel rooms and a 600,000-square-foot gaming and entertainment facility. Silverstein touted economic benefits of the project including 4,000 union construction jobs and 5,500 permanent union jobs for the operation of the complex.

In terms of Silverstein’s chances of being awarded one of only three downstate casino licenses, it has almost too much competition to list.

SL Green (SLG) Realty, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and Caesars Entertainment wants to build a “boutique” casino at West 45th Street and Broadway in Times Square, while Thor Equities has partnered with Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation and Legends to propose a $3 billion facility on 5 acres in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

Stefan Soloviev’s Soloviev Group and Mohegan would like to build an entertainment district complete with a giant Ferris wheel just south of the United Nations campus. Yes, they want a casino as part of it.

Hudson’s Bay Company wants to turn the top three floors of Saks Fifth Avenue’s 611 Fifth Avenue flagship store into a gaming floor; Related Companies with gaming partner Wynn Resorts has proposed a facility in the western portion of Hudson Yards; and Point72 Asset Management’s Steve Cohen is planning a gambling house next to Citi Field.

Mark Hallum can be reached at