NY Mets Owner Hopes $8 Billion Will Increase Casino Support

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New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is spearheading a bid to secure one of the three casino licenses up for grabs in the New York City area, aiming to construct a casino adjacent to Citi Field. Cohen's proposal now involves a significant investment of $8 billion, designed to sway local communities in favor of the plan.

Money’s No Object

The proposed site for Cohen and Hard Rock's casino encompasses a portion of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, a factor that has raised concerns among residents. Many fear the project could encroach upon parkland and introduce undesirable elements to the area.

Michael Sullivan, representing Steve Cohen's Point72 Asset Management, emphasized the incorporation of community input through a community benefit fund. He highlighted the evolving nature of community priorities over time.

In a recent presentation, Point72 outlined its multibillion-dollar vision, which includes dedicating 20 acres to park space and five acres to athletic fields on Citi Field's parking lots. Additionally, plans feature enhancements for accessibility to Willets Point station, the establishment of a Taste of Queens food hall, and investments in community initiatives such as legal aid for immigration, healthcare, and youth and senior programming.

Local Senator May Be an Obstacle

While some individuals view the proposal favorably, others remain skeptical or unaware. State Senator Jessica Ramos, a Queens Democrat, organized a town hall meeting to ensure community members are informed about the casino proposal and its implications. Ramos stressed the importance of community engagement in such a significant decision.

Ramos holds a pivotal role in the decision-making process regarding the casino project. She will select one of the five members of the community advisory committee empowered to evaluate and potentially reject the proposal.

However, competition for the coveted casino licenses remains fierce. There are ten other contenders, including casino giant Las Vegas Sands, vying for the same limited number of licenses.

The outcome of the casino licensing process will significantly impact the landscape of the New York City area, particularly in Queens. As stakeholders weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks of each proposal, community input and political decision-making will play crucial roles in shaping the future of the region.