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The Owners of the Mets and Hard Rock Want to Build an $8 Billion Casino in New York

That’s what Steve Cohen, the owner of the New York Mets, is hoping. The hedge funder is partnering with Hard Rock International on a bid to open an $8 billion casino and entertainment complex near the Mets’ stadium in Queens, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

While Cohen has stated his plan to build a casino in the past, this is the first time details have been released.

Cohen and his partners—which include Hard Rock and Shop Architects—are calling the project Metropolitan Park. Along with the casino, the complex would include athletic fields, a renovated mass-transit station, a food hall, and 20 acres of public park space designed by Field Operations, the firm behind Manhattan’s High Line. Cohen said Metropolitan Park would create 15,000 permanent and construction jobs in total.

A long road awaits until then, though. New York hasn’t set a deadline for casino proposals to be submitted, and at least a dozen other applicants have already thrown their hat in the ring. That includes Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, which shared an open letter in May about its intention to open a casino in Times Square. Despite the demand to build, the state can only give out three licenses, so many of those plans will never come to fruition.

Even if Cohen’s proposal was one of the most viable, it faces several roadblocks (although it does avoid the problem of being in Manhattan, which many New Yorkers have opposed). The Mets owner’s most immediate issue seems to be that the proposed site sits on state-owned parkland. Cohen would need to get approval from the legislature to annex the land, and while a bill was introduced last year to that effect, it hasn’t yet been brought to a vote.

Beyond that, Cohen’s plan would have to get approved by a majority of members on a board that is comprised of local elected officials from the district where the casino would be built. (According to Bloomberg, he’s already hired more than six lobbying firms and spent millions of dollars on meetings with community members to get feedback and support from those who live and work around Citi Field.) If he passes that hurdle, the state gaming-location board must then decide whether Metropolitan Park is worthy of one of the three licenses.

Cohen seems to think that all the hassle is worth testing his luck.

Source: Robb Report

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