Las Vegas gambling heavyweight Wynn Resorts is teaming up with New York City real estate giant Related Companies –developer of Hudson Yards– to bid on a casino in Midtown Manhattan. The parties want to put a casino on the western half of the Hudson Yards, which remains undeveloped.
The casino would be situated next to the Javits Center on the still-undeveloped western portion of Hudson Yards, the second half of the largest mixed-use private real estate development in American history, reports New York Times. Building the Yards’ western portion, which is now a sunken train yard, has been a priority not only for Related, but for Gov. Kathy Hochul as well.
The bid follows April’s approval by state lawmakers of up to three full-service casinos for the New York City area. While the move set off a frenzy among gambling companies and real estate developers to pursue the opportunity, Wynn’s project for Midtown Manhattan represents the first publicly announced bid for one of the new casino licenses.
Hudson Yards in Manhattan
The Wynn deal confirms longstanding rumors that Related was chasing a gaming industry partner to put its chips down in the west side yard, reports New York Post. Related Company has been struggling for years to formalize plans for the undeveloped western half of Hudson Yards, which would require a nearly 10-acre platform to be built above a thicket of active rail lines.
Hudson Yards’ first part, featuring a luxury mall and condominiums, opened in 2019. While the $25 billion development plan for residential and office towers was stalled by the pandemic, a green light to build a casino and entertainment complex could kickstart the project.
The Wynn partnership could give Related’s strategy a jump on its rivals. While its competitors have pursued gaming giants such as Hard Rock and Sands, no other deals have been struck thus far. SL Green, Vornado Realty Trust and Thor Equities are other developers that have been identified by The Post as interested in building a casino at various sites in the Big Apple. An alleged project involves New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, who is reportedly eyeing redevelopment prospects around the Citi Field stadium in Willets Points.
Photo of Wynn Las Vegas
It will likely be several months before the casino sites are announced. The state’s Gaming Commission has until October 6 to create the Gaming Facility Location Board, which will manage the application process, set to launch within 90 days of its formation. The gambling regulator has to also issue a formal request for proposals.
The Related-Wynn proposal’s fate will largely depend on the willingness of local elected officials to accept a casino in Manhattan, says New York Times. In order for it to proceed, it would have to win approval from a yet-to-be-formed six-person community advisory committee. Mayor Eric Adams will have a representative on the committee, as will the governor, the local City Council member, the borough president, the local Assembly member, and the local state senator.
“The gaming commission will decide on where these casinos will be located, but we are hoping two of the three downstate casinos will be placed in New York City,” said Fabien Levy, a spokesman for the mayor. While Manhattan has long been considered one of the best-untapped gambling markets in the country, casino bidders will likely have to overcome significant resistance, convincing local residents that a casino there is in their best interests.