Resorts World NYC Plans $5B Expansion, Seeks New Gaming Permit

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Queens get the (gambling) money?

Resorts World New York City and rap icon Nas on Thursday unveiled a $5 billion redevelopment plan for the only casino in the five boroughs, which executives said will reshape the southeast Queens neighborhood in which it sits.

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Plans call to create retail spaces, 1,600 new hotel rooms for casino patrons, 30 new opportunities for food and beverage vendors, a 7,000-seat performance space, as well as 3,000 units of employee housing, Genting executives announced in the lobby of the Jamaica, Queens, casino.

The casino floor itself will be expanded to 350,000 square feet, which Genting — the umbrella corporation that owns Resorts World — says will be the largest gambling facility in the world. Genting did not immediately disclose how large the current casino space is.

“This facility will be exemplary as a model of decarbonization, as fully electrified infrastructure,” Alberto Cavallero of Perkins Eastman, which was hired to design the new facility, said at the announcement. “We’re mindful that we’re making a significant addition to our great city of New York, and the design of the facility strives to become part of the pantheon, if you will, of must-see destinations in New York.”

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Rendering of the redeveloped Resorts World New York City. Renderings Courtesy Resorts World

Another plus for the community Genting touted will include 10 acres of park space and improved transit options to John F. Kennedy Airport, though details on the latter were not immediately provided by Resorts World.

“When we stood here more than a dozen years ago to break ground on Resorts World New York City, our vision extended well beyond that already ambitious original plan. Today, that vision can soon become a reality,” Robert DeSalvio, president of Genting’s New York operations, said in a statement.

Resorts World, however, will need to throw its hat into the crowded field of contestants for one of the three available downstate casino licenses with a price tag of $500 million for its grand redevelopment plan, according to Genting. Since Resorts World only has what is known as a “race-ino” license, one that only permits bets on racing and slot machines, it will need to get a full permit that will allow them to have Las Vegas-style table games.

 

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Rendering of the redeveloped Resorts World New York City. Renderings Courtesy Resorts World

 

And the fight for a new casino permit could add another chapter to a seemingly dormant rap beef.

Resorts World partnered with Queens native Nas to boost its casino bid. Meanwhile, SL Green Realty and Ceasars Entertainment tapped Jay-Z’s Roc Nation for its push to build a casino in Times Square.

Jay-Z and Nas had a long-simmering feud starting in the mid-1990s, with the two trading barbs on several songs throughout the years, most notably Jay-Z’s “Takeover” and Nas’s “Ether.” The two seemed to put their beef to bed in 2005 when Nas joined Jay-Z on stage, according to Highsnobiety.

Others who have to compete with Jay-Z and Nas for a casino bid include The Related Companies with gaming partner Wynn Resorts for 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 planning a gambling house next to Citi Field in Queens; and the Soloviev Group banding together with Mohegan for an entertainment district by the United Nations.

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