Steve Cohen Partnering With Hard Rock for $8B Queens Casino Complex

The Mets owner pitched an $8 billion development next to Citi Field that includes a gambling house, hotel, live music venue and parkland

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New York Mets and Point72 Asset Management owner Steve Cohen is finally showing his hand.

Cohen announced Tuesday that he would be partnering with Hard Rock International and SHoP Architects in his bid for one of the three available downstate casino licenses, with plans to build an $8 billion complex called Metropolitan Park in a parcel currently occupied by a parking lot next to the Citi Field in Queens.

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The 50-acre parking lot would not only be transformed into a gaming house, but would also have 20 acres of parkland by landscape architect firm Field Operations, a hotel, live music venue and food hall, Bloomberg first reported. Field Operations is the same firm behind the designs of the High Line in Manhattan.

“It’s time the world’s greatest city got the sports and entertainment park it deserves,” Cohen said in a statement. “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.”

Renderings and plan specifics have not yet been released.

Cohen’s plans surface after months of sessions with community members about the possibility of a casino in Willets Point, Queens, and follows changes to a proposal by the Soloviev Group to add 513 units of affordable homes in its development in Midtown East known as Freedom Plaza. Soloviev Group has partnered with entertainment group Mohegan.

To receive one of the licenses from the New York State Gaming Commission, a proposal has to meet requirements that improve the surrounding community.

While not directly connected to Cohen’s casino proposal, some of those aspects will be brought to Willets Point through New York City’s planned soccer stadium through a partnership between New York City Economic Development Corporation, Related Companies, Sterling Equities and Langan.

The development of the soccer stadium for New York City Football Club will also bring 2,500 planned apartments in total, with 1,100 being deemed affordable for lower-income residents, Commercial Observer reported in May.

The number of applications for the three downstate licenses are almost too numerous to list. 

To name just a few, Related Companies with gaming partner Wynn Resorts wants a facility in the western portion of Hudson Yards; Thor Equities, Saratoga Casino Holdings, The Chickasaw Nation and Legends are trying to get a casino in Coney Island, Brooklyn; and SL Green Realty, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and Caesars Entertainment are eyeing a gaming floor in Times Square.

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