State legislature approval need

NYC Councilman Francisco Moya backs Cohen's $8 billion casino plan, Senator's support uncertain

Francisco Moya currently represents the 21st Council District.
Reading time 1:44 min

Queens Councilman Francisco Moya has given his endorsement to Mets owner Steve Cohen's ambitious plan to construct an $8 billion casino complex adjacent to Citi Field. However, state Sen. Jessica Ramos, another influential figure whose support could prove decisive for the project's success, has yet to offer her approval.

Expressing his firm belief in the benefits of the proposed Metropolitan Park, which encompasses Cohen's envisioned gaming center, hotel, and music venue, Moya emphasized its potential to serve the best interests of Queens and New York City, New York Post reported.

Moya, whose jurisdiction includes the communities surrounding Flushing Meadow Park and Willets Point, has thrown his support behind another adjacent project as wella new professional soccer stadium for the New York City Football Club.

“I am committed to advancing a New York City Council home rule message for the State to authorize the City of New York to seize this opportunity, by permitting additional uses on this land to facilitate the sports, entertainment, and recreational park,” Moya said in a statement, as per the report.

For Cohen's casino endeavor to move forward, legislative action is required to rezone the lots around Citi Field, currently designated as parkland since the World's Fair, for commercial purposes. This crucial step hinges on the support of Sen. Ramos, who has yet to commit to the proposal.

I question the strategy here. This press release, the last minute press conference before my third town hall, the paid canvassers at my first town hall – these are not the open and transparent moves that I would expect from someone claiming to value real, honest community engagement,” Ramos as quoted by the report, from a statement texted to The Post.

Adding a layer of complexity to the situation, Ramos recently appeared in a social media post alongside rapper Nas, who is affiliated with Genting Resort World's competing bid for a full casino license—a move that underscores the multifaceted dynamics at play in the casino industry landscape.

While state regulators have announced a delay in deciding on up to three new casino licenses in the New York City area until late 2025, critics argue that this postponement presents economic challenges for the local community. However, industry insiders suggest that the extended timeline may afford Cohen the opportunity to bolster his position in Albany.

Cohen's reported favorable relationships with Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul further underscore his standing in the casino development arena, where various proposals vie for attention, including those from The Related Companies and Wynn; SL Green, Caesars, Roc Nation consortium; Thor Equities, Bally's, and Sands.

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